Man bolts through airport checkpoint, boards empty plane

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SEATAC, Wash. A man in his 20s who bolted through a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport security checkpoint, ran down a concourse and out onto the tarmac was arrested Friday night after police caught up with him in an empty airplane, an airport spokesman said.

"It appears to be a drug-induced situation," spokesman Perry Cooper said, adding the man was not armed.

He was arrested inside an American Airlines plane after a short struggle. Police said he would be booked for investigation of trespass and assault of an officer.

The plane was checked for anything suspicious before returning to service, Cooper said.

No other airport operations were affected.

Transportation Security Administration officers chased the man initially and Port of Seattle police quickly responded.

Passenger Steven Flynn saw it all.

"He walked downstairs to get onto tarmac," Flynn told CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV. "He walked beside the airplane, under the jetway, walked up outside the steps of the jetway and then broke a window to a door. He broke this heavily reinforced window and got onto the airplane."

Cooper said the window was in a door at the end of the jetway connecting the empty plane with the terminal. The man crawled through the broken window glass and entered the unoccupied plane.

"He had to be tackled to the ground," the spokesman said, adding the arrested man suffered minor injuries. Cooper said officers were unhurt.