August 10, 2014 3:37 pm
Updated: August 10, 2014 7:30 pm

Woman scales barbed-wire fence at Halifax airport, tries to stop plane from taking off

File photo: An Air Canada passenger jet takes off from Halifax on Jan. 21, 2013.


HALIFAX – The Halifax International Airport Authority said it will conduct a review of its security systems after a 37-year-old woman scaled the perimeter fence.

Airport spokesperson Peter Spurway said around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, it became apparent a person had jumped the fence around the air field.

“It was down along the hangar line, away from the terminal building,” he said about the area that was breached.

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Spurway said the individual got into the air field and was spotted almost immediately by people in the air traffic control tower.

He then said airport employees in the area apprehended the person and held the individual until RCMP arrived.

RCMP spokesperson Al LeBlanc said a 37-year-old Fall River woman was arrested.

He said she sustained minor injuries from climbing the fence, did not resist police and was taken to hospital for a medical assessment.

“Her intent was to stop the plane. My understanding is she believed her partner was on an aircraft. We determined that was not the case,” he said.

“It’s an unusual incident to say the least. In all my years of policing, I’ve never heard of such an incident.”

Spurway said there are cameras in the area and there is a fence about three metres high with barb wire on the top. There are also infrared sensors and motion detectors.

“It is a bit of a feat to get over this thing,” he said. “That takes some doing.”

When asked whether the individual could have been spotted while climbing the fence, Spurway said it was possible the person, while climbing, was blocked by a building that was along the fence.

Spurway adds the incident is an extremely rare occurrence but the airport authority will be re-evaluating its security systems.

“We will take a look at details of the incident once we do our own investigation and see if there is something that needs to be done, whether the security around that area of the fence needs to be enhanced in any way. And if need be, we will do that.”

Spurway said there was a small aircraft in the vicinity during the incident but it was rerouted.

He said the woman was not in any danger, however he emphasizes the severity of the situation.

“It is not a safe place for people to be if they are not authorized to be there or do not understand the dangers of the place. Air fields are inherently hazardous with aircraft moving.”

Spurway defended the airport’s security systems.

“Do you need to be concerned? I don’t think so. The people who need to be concerned are people who go onto the air field unauthorized.”

“As for the security of the air field, it is secure. That’s why we’ll go back and look at this particular area and see if there were any issues.”

RCMP say the woman will not face any charges.

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