Call it a Christmas Eve dare.
The deranged man ran up to a Southwest plane that had just landed and gave the big blue plane a firm slap. He then returned to the terminal, right into the awaiting arms of TSA and airport security personnel.
Airport officials in the tower called security after observing Robert Bump climb over a fence at approximately 5:30 p.m. and run up to the taxi-way lane. A Southwest Airlines plane was waiting to taxi to the terminal, and the pilots were warned that a man was approaching the aircraft.
The pilot turned off the plane’s engines, mostly for the safety of the man, and ensured all entrances to the plane were locked.
According to a report from The Associated Press, “Sky Harbor spent $10 million to upgrade its perimeter security and access gates after a man being chased by police in 2005 crashed a stolen pickup through a gate and drove onto the runways, passing several jets on a taxiway.”
Despite the upgrade, some are questioning how a man could simply scale a fence and approach a plane on the tarmac. Sky Harbor officials declined to comment on the security breach and referred questions to Phoenix police, who in turn declined to discuss specifics about the airport's security.
Investigators said Bump appeared to be delusional and was thought to be on drugs or inebriated.