US teen steals small plane, drives it into fence
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Winging it

US teen steals small plane, drives it into fence

No one injured in crash at California airport; 17-year-old’s motive remains unclear

A small plane sits parked after it was crashed into a fence by a 17-year-old girl, December 18, 2019, at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, California (Jim Guy/The Fresno Bee via AP)
A small plane sits parked after it was crashed into a fence by a 17-year-old girl, December 18, 2019, at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, California (Jim Guy/The Fresno Bee via AP)

FRESNO, California (AP) — A 17-year-old girl was arrested Wednesday after authorities say she sneaked into a small plane at a central California airport and drove it into a chain-link fence.

The teenager climbed a fence topped with barbed wire at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, started up the plane and crashed it into a fence, airport Police Chief Drew Bessinger said.

Bessinger said she breached the fence about a quarter-mile from the commercial terminals and the military area.

No passenger planes were in danger, and no one was injured in the crash, he said.

A grainy surveillance video released by airport officials showed the plane drive in a circle before crashing.

Airport and Fresno police officers responding to a 911 call found the teen in the pilot’s seat, wearing a headset, Bessinger said.

She “appeared to be disoriented and was uncooperative with police when she was taken into custody,” he said.

Bessinger said police were investigating why she took the plane but that there was no indication of “a terrorism-related motive.'”

The girl’s mother told Fresno news station KFSN-TV that she hadn’t heard from her daughter since Tuesday night.

The teenager was arrested on suspicion of theft of an aircraft and booked into juvenile hall.

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