Maybe He Wanted To Buy It?
We honestly don't know
where to start with this one, except at the beginning. Chicago city
officials confirmed Tuesday that an intoxicated man was able to
sneak through a security gate at Midway Airport this weekend, where
he proceeded to then take a stroll along the runways.
A Southwest Airlines employee spotted 22-year-old Mark Mechniek
Sunday afternoon, standing between two runways. The employee
alerted the control tower, who sent out several security officials
to remind Mechniek -- with force -- that he was NOT free to move
around the airport.
Runway 4-Right was closed during the security breach, Chicago
Aviation Department spokeswoman Wendy Abrams told the
The security -- ahem -- guard who was manning the gate Mechniek
walked through has been placed on paid administrative leave. The
officer has been on the job since July 2001, Abrams added, and
officials believe Mechniek was able to walk through the gate while
the guard's attention was diverted by a vehicle leaving through the
gate at the time.
As for Mechniek, once he sobered up he was charged with reckless
conduct, and trespassing on airport property. He also confessed to
Southwest Airlines has expressed concern over the security lapse
-- not because of any threat Mechniek might have possessed to an
aircraft ("the blast from the jet would blow [him] over like a
leaf," one pilot colorfully said) but rather by who else might
be able to gain access in a similar manner. Say, someone with a
"We leave the security of the airport up to the Aviation
Department and the [Transportation Security Administration]," said
airline spokeswoman Marilee McInnis. "We have full faith in their
abilities and the job they do. In a situation of this type, we hope
this will be used as a learning opportunity for the future."
Perhaps Mechniek -- a Polish citizen who reportedly lives about
a block from the inner-city airport -- was interested in buying the airport, and
simply wanted to have a look around?