Man breaches security, approaches plane at Bellingham airport

A man breached security at Bellingham International Airport Thursday night.
A man breached security at Bellingham International Airport Thursday night. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

An unidentified man breached security and ran onto the airfield at the Bellingham International Airport Thursday night, according to Mike Hogan, spokesman for the Port of Bellingham.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m., a man in his 20s with a scruffy beard and wearing a dark tracksuit jumped the fence at the base area and ran onto the airfield, according to emergency radio traffic.

The man had apparently jumped over the fence and approached an airplane before he was “challenged” by airport security, according to emergency radio traffic.

The suspect was last seen jumping the fence again, to get out, near the general aviation building – near Gate 9 – and the fuel area off Airport Way, radio traffic indicated.

An extensive search of the area was done but the suspect was nowhere to be found – the case remains under investigation, Hogan said. No damage was reported to any airplanes or airport property.

Video surveillance footage was available and is being examined by investigators, Hogan said.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Further information about the incident was not made immediately available.

Every airport has a “unique footprint” that requires every facility to have its own security program that’s approved by the Transportation Security Administration, said Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the TSA.

Each security program is designed to address perimeter security, prevention and detection of unauthorized entry, presence and movement of individuals and vehicles into and within secured airport areas, Dankers said.

TSA regulates each airport’s compliance with its security plan and does comprehensive inspections, she added.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt