A Delta Airlines agent assists a woman at JFK International Airport in New York.
A Delta Airlines agent assists a woman at JFK International Airport in New York. Mary Altaffer/AP
New York's John F. Kennedy airport failed a security check Saturday night, in a public and surprising way.
The New York Post broke the story over the weekend, relating the tale of Daniel Castillo: he was out jet skiing with friends on an inlet near the airport and had a mishap. He ran out of gas but couldn't attract anyone's attention. So, wearing his bright yellow life vest, he jumped in the water and struck out toward the nearest lights he saw. These belonged to the airport.
Castillo arrived ashore, climbed an eight foot airport security fence and then walked across two large runways toward the closest airport terminal, a distance judged to be about two miles.
He was never seen by security officials.
He would have remained undetected if he hadn't walked up to a Delta worker on the tarmac and asked for help. He got it - he was arrested for trespassing by the Port Authority.
The episode has brought out an angry Port Authority police union, whose chief told the Post JFK's electronic surveillance system "is an expensive piece of junk with no value as a security deterrent."
Nicholas Casale is the former deputy director of security for counterterrorism for the New York metro transit agency. He told the Associated Press once Castillo crossed the perimeter, there should have been a red alert: "Immediately there should have been an armed response. Heavy weapons, armored cars to the area that the perimeter was breached. The airport should have been locked down."
New York Rep. Peter King chairs the House Homeland Security Committee and warns the matter could come up in a congressional hearing, according to Newsday. "The bad part is a guy who didn't know what he was doing was able to breach a $100-million security system."
The Port Authority told ABC it's undertaking a fast review of Castillo's breach and will find out how the perimeter detection system, built by defense contractor Raytheon "could be improved."
Meanwhile, they've beefed up water patrols around the airport and are policing the perimeter.