June 27, 2018 / 9:10 PM / 5 months ago

Man charged after running in underwear on Atlanta airport runway

June 27 (Reuters) - A teenager has been criminally charged after running half-naked across an Atlanta airport runway and jumping onto the wing of a Delta Air Lines plane that had just landed.

Officials on Wednesday said Jhyrin Jones, 19, conducted his escapade after scaling a 12-foot high fence topped with barbed wire at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest, the previous afternoon.

Police took about five minutes to apprehend Jones, who had been barefoot and wearing only underwear, after being alerted by an airport employee, Atlanta Police Major Timothy Peek told reporters.

"What can stop a person from jumping a fence?" Peek said, adding the Jones had also dashed through an open construction site and over a public fence. "There are plenty of laws to deter activity - unfortunately, they don't stop activity."

Jones was charged with criminal trespassing, public indecency, causing damage and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Bond was set on Wednesday at $18,000 by a magistrate court in Clayton County, Georgia, court documents showed.

Jones' lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Onboard passenger Tim James recalled his fear at the sight of Jones on the wing, attempting to rip open the emergency door of the plane that had just arrived from Miami.

"He actually got it open until the stewardess and the people in the aisle started fighting back," James, 32, a marketing manager from Atlanta, said in an interview on Wednesday.

"People were crying. My first thoughts were he had jumped off of the plane, so I was more concerned he had something else on the plane that needed to be taken off. It was scary."

After the flight crew secured the door, Jones walked up to the window where James was sitting.

"He pulled out his ID. Then he put it in his mouth and ripped it apart and threw it on the ground," James said.

Jones had two prior arrests in his home state of Alabama, one for a handgun violation and another for underage drinking, according to WSB-TV.

The arrest follows a string of similar incidents at other U.S. airports.

In February, a shirtless passenger who had been ejected from his flight attacked an employee on the tarmac at North Carolina's Charlotte Douglas Airport.

At Miami International Airport, a man who sneaked onto a luggage conveyor belt reached the tarmac in November and in January a man entered the cargo area there, claiming to be lost. (Reporting by Tea Kvetenadze; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)

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