Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Man allegedly hits
plane with rock

The state airports
administrator faults the TSA
for ineffective security at Lihue

LIHUE >> Kauai County prosecutors were expected to decide today whether to file charges against a Lihue man who allegedly jumped the Lihue Airport fence Monday, damaged a plane with a rock and threatened several employees of two airlines with a knife.

The county may turn the 36-year-old man over to federal prosecutors on Oahu.

According to Kauai County officials, the man climbed over a fence at the north end of the airport shortly after noon on Monday, ran to a parked Hawaiian Airlines plane and threw a rock at it. He then allegedly threatened employees of both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines on the tarmac with a knife before they subdued him. It's the second armed intrusion at the Lihue airport in the past three months.

In May, Lloyd Albinio allegedly broke into the airport terminal through the baggage claim area, pointed a pistol at a federal Transportation Security Agency guard and fired two shots inside the airport. He later surrendered to police. His case is still pending in federal court.

State Airports Administrator Davis Yogi said he wants to improve security at the airport.

"We're going to put in doors with positive locks and bulletproof coatings on the glass. If one door is breached the second door will be impenetrable," he said.

Similarly, he said he expects razor wire will be added to the top of perimeter fences and ground patrols increased as a result of Monday's intrusion.

"We're going to have to take measures rather than continuing to haggle with TSA (federal Transportation Security Administration)," Yogi said in an interview late yesterday. "We cannot let them continue to not be responsible. It's time to step up and take our airports back."

Transportation Security Administration officials did not return calls seeking comment.


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