MELBOURNE, Fla. - Nishal Sankat made a first appearance before a judge on Friday. The 22-year-old is accused of trying to steal a commercial airplane.
“In his attempt to harm himself, Mr. Sankat advised that he intended to take the aircraft in the process of harming himself,” said FBI Special Agent Hackard. “In that process he had no regard for the potentiality of harming others in the process.” Sankat looked nervous going before the judge, he was unable to stand still.
The dark green suit he's he wore is designed to prevent him from hurting himself. Investigators telling the judge they got an urgent call around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning regarding a possible terrorist incident at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Investigators say Sankat scaled the barbed wire fence, ran onto the tarmac, and boarded the American Airlines jet sitting there for maintenance. They say he got into the cockpit, was about to sit down in the pilot's seat, when suddenly the maintenance worker on the place spotted him and asked, “Who are you?”
“He didn't get any type of answers so he told him to come with him. At that point he escorted the defendant to a golf cart. They drove over to the hangar. He started talking to him again, asking him questions and he fled from the maintenance man,” testified another Special Agent from the FBI taskforce member.
The maintenance man caught up with Sankat and securing him until investigators arrived. Investigators spent all day yesterday interviewing Sankat and several more hours Friday morning. The special agent told the judge they're not done yet.
“There were several factors involved that caused concern to us and we have not yet fully been able to vet those out yes,” said Sepcial Agent Hackard.
Sankat is being held on a no bond status. The fed and prosecutors fear he’s a flight risk due to his dual citizenship between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. Plus they say he has access to money. Sankat told the judge his parents give him a $5,000 stipend.