FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Video of the plane theft as it happened shows it doing a lazy turn before crashing into an unidentified structure.
You can then see a flash on impact, then, the plane continues to roll until it crashes into a nearby building, coming to a stop.
CBS47’s News’s cameras were rolling as the teen was quickly arrested.
Authorities say, that when they found her, she was sitting in the cockpit pilot seat.
Police Chief of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Drew Bessinger said, “Fresno officers arrived first and contacted the female, who was seated in the pilot’s seat and wearing the pilot headset. The female appeared to be disoriented and was uncooperative when she was taken into custody for theft of an aircraft.”
It is important to note that at no time was the plane ever airborne. No injuries were reported.
The airport’s Police Chief said the teen managed to climb a security fence to gain access to the plane.
“It’s a fence,” Bessinger said. “Most any fences can be climbed if you are motivated enough to go over barbed wire”.
But, this could have been a disaster.
We talked to one pilot who says he went out to the airport Wednesday because when he heard what happened, he had to see it to believe it.
“I was shocked that a 17-year old girl with no piloting experience could start a king air and actually get it to turn on,” said Pilot Drew Pearson who is not affiliated with the airport. “You know, ’cause it’s not like putting a key in the car and turning the key and it starts up. There is definitely a sequence you have to follow like levers need to be in the right positions, certain switches have to be on at certain times, it’s not an easy process.”
Pearson said, “Usually they follow pretty strict protocols to keep this from happening, but, it just happened to happen, and it’s like I said, it’s incredible that she could get it going. I’m still shocked by that. Anybody that I texted that’s a pilot is like how did a 17-year-old girl, or how did anybody without experience fire this plane up? And, its just, pure luck.”