AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Investigators are trying to determine how a man with apparently no security clearance ended up on a runway at a Texas airport where he was struck and killed by a landing commercial jet.
Junin Ko, 22, died Thursday night when a Southwest Airlines plane struck him as it landed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, authorities said. Pilots had reported seeing a person while landing.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was arriving from Dallas with 53 passengers and five crew members, airport spokesperson Bryce Dubee said.
The man didn’t have a security badge, which would have cleared him to enter the airport’s secure side, Dubee told the Austin-American Statesman for a report published Monday.
Employees at the Austin Department of Aviation, airlines and concessions are required to have a badge, he said, adding that the man didn’t work anywhere in the airport where a security badge is not required, such as a hotel or gas station.
“This type of thing is defined as a runway incursion,” Dubee said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had a security breach of this nature.”
Dubee didn’t offer further comment on how the man got onto the runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, Austin police and the airport are investigating what happened, Dubee said.
The airport declined to provide details of how or if it would change its security protocols following the incursion.