• WFTV speaks with worker who stopped student during security breach at Melbourne airport

    By: Kelly Healey , Steve Barrett


    MELBOURNE, Fla. - Channel 9 spoke with the airport maintenance worker Friday who stopped a man as he boarded an American Airlines jet that was undergoing maintenance.


    "I knew right away -- I mean we're trained," said airport maintenance worker Shayne Graves. "No badge. Looked down -- no shoe on that foot. This isn't right. Nothing's right about this kid."


    The 22-year-old flight student jumped a security fence at the Melbourne International Airport Thursday and reached the cockpit of an empty jet before two maintenance workers stopped him, investigators said.

    Melbourne airport officials said that Trinidad and Tobago native Nishal Sankat breached airport security around 1:30 a.m. 


    At the scene: Security breach at Melbourne International Airport


    Authorities said Sankat tried to steal the airplane.


    Graves confronted Sankat while he was on the plane. Graves said he didn't hesitate to act because he thought about the 9/11 attacks.


    "I said this isn't going to happen again," Graves said, sobbing.


    "He was looking around, and I said, 'You’re coming with me. You're coming off this airplane.' I put him on the ground at the entrance door, got him on that golf cart, and we went into the hangar," Graves said.


    Graves said the suspect appeared to be on drugs.


    Sankat was studying aviation management at the Florida Institute of Technology and had completed some flight training, school officials said. Investigators said he was not rated for the type of aircraft he is accused of trying to steal.


    "I really think he's a guinea pig, testing airport security. I really do," Graves said.


    The Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI, is now investigating, but Sankat already faces state charges of violation of a visa, criminal trespassing and criminal theft of an aircraft. 

    Officials said Sankat is being cooperative. He is being held at the Brevard County Jail.


    © 2019 Cox Media Group.
    Brevard County Sheriff's Office


    WATCH BELOW: The full exclusive interview with Shayne Graves


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