Man leads San Francisco police on airport tarmac chase

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Man runs on Tarmac
It happened at the San Francisco airport

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- The San Francisco Police Department chased a man onto the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport Wednesday.

The man appeared to be under the influence of a substance in the ticket counter area of Terminal 1 on Tuesday morning, according to Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesperson.

The suspect then led officers on a foot chase, during which he scaled a fence onto the airfield, where he was apprehended.

Paramedic firefighter Rafael Gordon responded to a call on his bike that someone was lying unconscious at the Southwest ticket counter.

"He was breathing. I reached out to take his vital signs. He popped up and just bolted," he said.

He ran down the terminal and out the door, chased by about four or five officers. He jumped over an embankment about twenty feet down, made it to the airfield. Police and airport vehicles began chasing him, trying to block his route but the intruder weaved in and out of their path.

Gordon says the man seemed to have boundless energy, perhaps high on something.

After zig-zagging around the airfield, Gordon says the man just got tired and when he slowed down, officers caught him.

Tri Nguyen shot the cell phone video. "He got tackled down and handcuffed and put in the black SUV," said Nguyen.

The breach raises the question of airport security. Spokesman Doug Yakel says they've already made many improvements.

"We've already hardened over 10,000 feet of fencing. We've added new analytics. We have an RFP out for a new water radar detection system,:" said Yakel.

Despite all that, the man was able to simply jump over a fence.