Trini chrged with stealing plane after airport breach

By Trinidad Express

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Nishal Sankat

(T&T GUARDIAN) — The son of for­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor Clement Sankat was ar­rest­ed and charged with at­tempt­ing to steal a plane at a Flori­da air­port yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Nishal Sankat was charged with crim­i­nal theft of an air­craft, crim­i­nal tres­pass­ing and visa vi­o­la­tion hours af­ter US au­thor­i­ties claimed he al­leged­ly hopped a fence at the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port in Flori­da and board­ed a com­mer­cial air­plane in a main­te­nance hangar.

The in­ci­dent prompt­ed the air­port to be shut down for five hours and caused two flights to be de­layed. It al­so quick­ly made in­ter­na­tion­al head­lines as me­dia hous­es ini­tial­ly felt it may have been a pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist threat, as he was on­ly iden­ti­fied as a Trinida­di­an stu­dent who had had flight train­ing and had en­tered in­to the US from Cana­da.

Sankat’s iden­ti­ty was re­leased to the me­dia by Fed­er­al Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) yes­ter­day af­ter­noon af­ter he was charged.

In a brief phone in­ter­view with the T&T Guardian, Pro­fes­sor Sankat con­firmed it was his son but said he could make no com­ment on the mat­ter as he had lit­tle idea of what oc­curred. How­ev­er, he did con­firm that his son had been “very de­pressed” ear­li­er this week.

Nishal Sankat, a for­mer Hillview Col­lege stu­dent, was study­ing Avi­a­tion Man­age­ment at the Flori­da In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy. The Flori­da school con­firmed in a state­ment that he was a part-time stu­dent at the in­sti­tu­tion and had com­plet­ed flight train­ing there.

Flori­da news out­lets re­port­ed that Sankat was chal­lenged by two work­ers who were on board the plane as he at­tempt­ed to en­ter the cock­pit. They asked him to show his badge au­tho­ris­ing his pres­ence on the air­craft. In­stead, he ig­nored them and at­tempt­ed to sit in the pi­lot’s chair. They work­ers tack­led him and af­ter sub­du­ing him one of the work­ers alert­ed po­lice to the in­tru­sion.

Fol­low­ing his ar­rest, Lori Book­er, a spokesper­son for the air­port, in­formed the me­dia of the sit­u­a­tion.

“At 2 am this morn­ing a ve­hi­cle ap­proached our ter­mi­nal and parked curb­side with the en­gine run­ning. A male sub­ject was seen run­ning from the car, jump­ing the fence run­ning across the apron and board­ed an air­bus 321 which was not in ser­vice at the time,” Book­er said.

Book­er told re­porters a ro­bot de­vice was used to en­sure noth­ing dan­ger­ous was in the parked ve­hi­cle left be­hind. The car was towed away af­ter it was de­clared safe. She had ear­li­er con­firmed the sus­pect was stu­dent pi­lot was born in T&T and had en­tered the Unit­ed States from Cana­da and held a valid Flori­da dri­ver’s li­cense.

The Mel­bourne Po­lice De­part­ment and the FBI re­spond­ed to the in­ci­dent while the US An­ti Ter­ror­ism Task Force was con­sult­ed to en­sure it was an iso­lat­ed in­ci­dent.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.


  1. He needs a good cutass, for living a Privileged life and felt he can do no wrong and get away with it...

  2. Deal with him like a terrorist


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