A man wearing only boxer shorts breached the perimeter fence at OMA, stole a pickup truck on the runway and then crashed the vehicle into a WN aircraft which was prepping for take-off.
"Several crew members suffered minor injuries but none of the 18 passengers on board were harmed," said Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz.
The plane was loading for takeoff when a truck driven by Dealario Koonce, 35, struck the plane’s nose gear, police said. The incident started when Koonce, having been seen acting irrationally at the south end of a terminal, ran off when police tried to intercept him, Tim Conahan, Chief of Police at the Omaha Airport Authority explained.
The man then ran into some shrubbery, and eventually scaled an 8’ high fence topped with 6 stands of barbed wire, Conahan said. On the other side of the fence, he found an unattended airport pickup truck, and drove it onto the apron where the planes park to load pax, Conahan said.
A police cruiser cut him off, but the man made a U-turn, drove further and eventually struck the plane’s nose gear. Police are still investigating and have so far not indicated a motive for the bizarre incident.
On an NBC News Conahan said the man's erratic behaviour indicated 'some type of drug overdose or that he has mental issues.'
Conahan said the suspect had stripped down to his boxer shorts and muttered that 'someone was trying to kill him.'
The flight to DEN was delayed by approximately 3 hr.