Naked Man Hides in Plane Wheel Well
Nov. 05, 2004
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A man was charged with trespassing after he stripped naked, scaled a airport fence, ran across the tarmac and climbed into a plane's wheel well before firefighters talked him out, officials said.
The man had earlier tried to buy a ticket for a Qantas Airways flight to Australia with only a credit card receipt. He told authorities at Los Angeles International Airport that he stripped off his clothes Monday to protest the airline's decision to deny him the ticket, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
The man, Neil Melly, 31, of Canada, suffers from bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive illness) and had been listed as a missing person in Canada, Castles said. He was booked on a tresspassing charge, and was released from custody Tuesday.
Baggage handlers saw the man climb an 8-foot, barbed-wire fence that separates public and private areas of the airport and run to a departing plane as it backed from the gate. He climbed into a wheel well before the plane stopped.
He ignored police officers' commands to come out, but complied when city firefighters arrived. The Boeing 747, bound for Melbourne, Austrialia, departed an hour late.
Airport authorities will look into improving the fence, said Paul Haney, a spokesman for the agency that operates the airport.