Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Trini student in attempted plane theft was homesick, lawyer says

New claims have emerged that student pilot Nishal Sankat, who breached security at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport and caused a five-hour lockdown, never intended to steal the plane.

The claim comes from Brevard County attorney Greg Eisenmenger who is now representing the 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago national.  

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Sankat jumped over a fence and boarded an American Airlines jet scheduled for maintenance, but was tackled and restrained by airport workers in the plane’s cockpit.

He has been charged for burglary, trespassing and grand theft.

Eisenmenger said the Florida Tech student is dealing with mental health issues and is now on suicide watch at the Brevard County Jail in Florida.

The attorney is working to get the 22-year-old under the care of a private physician and to move him from the jail to a treatment facility, as he claims the conditions are making matters worse for Sankat.

Eisenmenger claims Sankat was homesick and depressed and none of his relatives and close friends expected something like this happen.

The attorney is quoted as saying that the actual act of Sankat getting onto the plane “came out of the blue”.

"No one has any indication that this could happen," he added.

"I think we all recognise this went beyond a college student being homesick and trying to go home," Eisenmenger said.

Sankat, who is in the United States under a Canadian visa, remains behind bars as his immigration status is pending.

The motive behind the incident remains unclear.


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