Bodybuilder in underpants breaks into Merkel’s plane
Man dances on a wing, uses fire extinguishers and activates the escape slide
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen disembarking from one of the Airbus A319s. Photograph: Getty
German police are investigating how a nearly naked bodybuilder managed board an empty government jet used by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Wearing only underpants and reportedly high on drugs the man danced on a wing, used fire extinguishers and entered the cockpit of the aircraft parked at in the military section of Cologne Airport.
The man also activated the escape slide and managed to alert police to his presence in the plane after he activated an alarm in the cockpit.
The incident took place on July 25th and the case is still being investigated, a spokesman for Germany’s air force said last night. Ms Merkel was not in Cologne during the incident, he said.
“The man probably got onto the airfield because there was construction and that’s why the alarm system was turned off,” said an air force official.
“He then pulled down the jet engine’s cover, climbed up and entered the plane through its emergency exit.”
The intruder was identified as a 24-year-old bodybuilder whose name was given as Volkan T.
When he refused to leave the plane, police entered with dogs and he was bitten twice in the leg before they could overpower him, the German news agency DPA reported.
German media, citing a leaked report from the federal police, said he had taken ecstasy pills.
“According to witnesses, he seemed to have been under the influence of drugs, but we are still waiting for a scientific evaluation to confirm this,” Ulrich Bremer, Cologne’s senior prosecutor said.
The Airbus A319 is one of two planes on call for senior Germans politicians at the military section of Cologne’s airport.
In contrast to president Barack Obama’s Air Force One, the two Airbus planes are not only reserved for Ms Merkel but can also be used be the country’s president, Joachim Gauck, or high-ranking ministers.
Mr Bremer would not comment on German media reports that Volkan T was dancing around on the plane in his underpants when he was caught by police.
“It seems his behaviour may have been related to a psychiatric illness and he has been put up in a mental institution while we’re waiting for a psychological evaluation,” Mr Bremer said. “He may not fully be held responsible for his acts.”
The intruder had no previous history with the police, he added.
The air force official said there was no way the intruder could have started the plane, since it “was on power-off mode.” Air force personnel made a complete technical check of the plane, changed the emergency exit door and held a test flight before it was put back on active duty on August 13th.
“As a consequence, we have ordered an extra employee to guard the government planes at all times,” the air force spokesman said.