Charlotte airport security faulted after fall from plane

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 19, 2011 9:01 PM

By Jim Brumm

WILMINGTON, North Carolina (Reuters) - The Charlotte airport needs tighter security and more police staffing, a new report concludes, after the death of a teenager who snuck onto the landing gear of a U.S. Airways 737 jet last November.

Sixteen-year-old Delvonte Tisdale's body was found 700 miles away in Milton, Massachusetts, after he fell from the plane as it approached Boston's Logan Airport.

Released Tuesday, the report by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Major Glen Neimeyer is so heavily redacted that it does not show the department's opinion of exactly where the high school junior sneaked onto the plane on November 15, 2010.

Authorities said the report was heavily redacted because it contained sensitive security information that should not be made public.

The portions of the report available said the teenager probably did not access the jet via security checkpoints in the airport. It said that if he had tried to reach the plane through security checkpoints he probably would have been discovered.

The report suggests Tisdale did have access at the undisclosed point where the plane was completely stationary on a taxi way for 37 minutes during the hour and 14 minutes that it took to leave the gate and take off for Boston.

Neimeyer said the airport's law enforcement agency is understaffed compared to similar airports.

"In my opinion, the current law enforcement agency at (Charlotte Douglass International Airport) does not adequately reflect the type, size and functions of an organization that should be in place at a major metropolitan airport," Neimeyer wrote.

Charlotte International is a major airline hub in the southeast region and is the 11th busiest airport in the United States in number of passengers.

The size of current police staff and his recommendations for improvement were redacted.

Neimeyer's report also says that the use of a private security company raises concerns. The company, whose name was either omitted or redacted, controls traffic on the departure and arrival levels outside the main terminal building.

(Edited by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)