Man jumps Tampa airport fence, taken into custody

Story highlights

  • The man is taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation
  • A man jumped an airport fence and ran toward one of the runways
  • He was observed by a worker, who called 911
  • Two flights from the Tampa airport were delayed briefly
A 27-year-old man with a history of mental illness was detained after he jumped a fence at Tampa International Airport Monday evening and ran onto an active runway.
The man, who was not hurt, was given a trespass warning and taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, airport spokeswoman Janet Zink told CNN.
The man was apprehended within three minutes after he crossed the fence, Zink said.
Zink said the man jumped a fence shortly after 5 p.m. and ran toward Runway 1 Right. He was observed by an employee of an airplane maintenance company, who called 911, she said.
Air traffic controllers, pilots and airport police were recorded talking about the event on tapes.
"How about the guy over here walking on the runway," one pilot said.
"I have no knowledge of that, but I think I see something now," the controller responds, before instructing a Southwest flight taxiing to the runway to stop.
"He's got his arms up ... he's walking northbound on the runway."
A police officer then asks for clearance to enter the runway to apprehend the man.
"That's something you don't see every day, tower," another pilot radioed.
"No you don't," the controller responded.
The incident briefly delayed a Southwest flight from Tampa to Houston, and a United flight from Tampa to Chicago.