Life’s a Breach: Jet Skier Evades JFK Airport’s Security System

Daniel Casillo swam to the airport, climbed a fence, crossed two runways and entered a terminal building dripping wet before someone got suspicious.

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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

New York's John F. Kennedy airport

Last Friday, Daniel Casillo was jet skiing in Jamaica Bay, a coastal inlet on Long Island near John F. Kennedy International Airport,  when he ran out of fuel. So Casillo did what any (slightly illogical but undeniably resourceful) person would do: he swam toward the nearest, brightest object he could find: JFK’s runways.

Evading the airport’s $100 million security system — which included surveillance cameras and motion detectors aimed at preventing people from gaining access to some of the busiest runways in the nation — the 31-year-old swam ashore, scaled a fence and walked dripping wet into an airport terminal wearing a bright yellow life jacket.

(READ: Lifeguard Who Got Fired For Saving Drowning Swimmer Declines Offer to Return)

Casillo, who transversed two runways (an estimated distance of nearly two miles) before he was spotted by an airline employee, was interrogated and charged with criminal trespassing, even though he was merely looking for help.

Though Casillo was released without bail and has an October court date, some think he should have been rewarded for his heroics.

“I think he should be given dinner and a bottle of champagne for showing us our faults,” Nicholas Casale, an NYPD veteran and former MTA deputy security director for counterterrorism, told ABC News.

For its part, New York Port Authority is taking the incident seriously. Officials told ABC News they “took immediate action to increase its police presence with round the clock patrols of the facility’s perimeter and increased patrols by boat of the surrounding waterway.”

“We have called for an expedited review of the incident and a complete investigation to determine how Raytheon’s perimeter intrusion detection system — which exceeds federal requirements — could be improved,” the Port Authority said in a statement.

Thankfully, the review was prompted by a benign water sport enthusiast.

“Thank God it wasn’t a terrorist, but we have to look at it as if we had another attack,” Isaac Yeffet, former chief of security for Israeli airline El Al told the Associated Press. “That’s the only way we’ll improve the system.”

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