Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200ER, Skywest Airlines, N865AS

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Transportation Security Administration approves security plans for each of the nation's airports, but the federal agency leaves the safety of an airport's perimeter up to the airport itself. 

A six-mile-long chain-link fence surrounds the St. George Municipal Airport and it contains an added precaution of razor wire at the top, but is not electric, said Marc Mortensen, assistant city manager for St. George. He said there is always at least one security officer patrolling the perimeter and checking facilities, even after hours.

Such an officer located the motorcycle of wanted Colorado fugitive Brian Joseph Hedglin, 40, on the outskirts of the fence early Tuesday. It wasn't until the officer called for backup that he noticed an aircraft had crashed in the parking lot, police said.

"I guess it is possible that somebody could jump the fence or cut the fence in a specific area and there may be some time before they are detected," Mortensen said Tuesday, adding that there is also a possibility that individuals could use an electronic access badge, which are issued only to carefully screened applicants, inappropriately.

Officials believe Hedglin, a pilot, did just that. He allegedly jumped the fence and then accessed a 50-passenger Bombardier CRJ200 owned by SkyWest Airlines that was parked overnight at the airport. Hedglin was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

St. George Police Capt. James Van Fleet said security concerns exist, but added, "I don't think we're any more vulnerable than any other airport."

Local homeland security consultant Tom Panuzio said Tuesday's incident is "a classic example of a domestic dispute that could've turned into domestic terrorism." The jet accessed by Hedglin can carry up to 44,000 pounds of fuel, making it a potential "flying bomb."

"We have to assume he wasn't going to take it for a joyride," Panuzio said. "He was going to make a statement."

Brian Hedglin, 40, went on the rampage in a 50-seat passenger jet at St George airport in Utah days after murdering his girlfriend.

Police say he drove his motorbike to the St George Municipal Airport in Utah and scaled a razor wire fence while the airport was closed, using a rug for protection

He then boarded the 50-passenger SkyWest jet and drove it past a terminal building, clipping the wing, before crashing into cars in a parking lot.

The captain - who worked for Skywest - then shot himself in the cockpit.

 SkyWest Airline officials confirm that the employee, who was on administrative leave at the time of the incident, is now deceased.

Brian Hedglin, 40, died inside a stolen SkyWest jet after shooting himself.

Incidentally, police in Colorado have been searching for a SkyWest employee and a member of the Colorado National Guard since Friday.

SkyWest officials confirmed that an incident occurred overnight while the airport was closed and the aircraft in question was not in service. They said they are cooperating with the FBI’s investigation of the incident, but would not reveal further details.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertram said they are conducting a joint investigation with St. George police and the Transportation Security Administration.

"We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note that there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under control of law enforcement," Bertram said Tuesday.

St. George City spokesman Marc Mortensen said the south wall of the terminal sustained minor damage in the incident, and several private vehicles on the east side of the airport were also damaged. He also said a security fence was damaged as well.

Mortensen did not offer more details of the incident, or confirm if there were any injuries. He said the plane was not in the air at the time of the incident, and no passengers were on board.

Officials say that passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being flown from Cedar City while the airport is closed.

ST. GEORGE —   The St. George Airport was closed Tuesday following an incident involving a SkyWest plane.
Details about the incident remain sketchy.

"While the airport was closed overnight, a SkyWest aircraft at the St. George Municipal Airport in Utah was involved in a ground incident while the aircraft was not in service," SkyWest said in a brief prepared statement. "Until the airport is reopened, passengers with Delta Connection flights to and from St. George are being re-accommodated on other flights as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City."

The terminal at the St. George Airport sustained minor damage and vehicles in the parking lot were also damaged as well as a SkyWest plane, according to St. George spokesman Mark Mortensen.

The FBI and St. George police are investigating the incident.

"The FBI is on scene at the St. George Airport, along with St. George police and the TSA. We are conducting a joint investigation. We are still gathering facts, but it is important to note there is no ongoing public safety issue and the scene is under the control of law enforcement," FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram said.

Mortensen said all commercial flights were cancelled until further notice. He said the private portion of the airport was still open. The St. George Airport handles seven flights a day.

The incident reportedly started about 3 a.m.

COLORADO SPRINGS - Brian Hedglin, 40 - a SkyWest Airlines employee - is wanted for murder in Colorado Springs, 9Wants to Know has learned. 

 According to SkyWest, he is listed as a "current/active" employee.

Hedglin has been a licensed pilot since 2000. It is unknown at this time whether he flies SkyWest planes.

Colorado Springs Police say they were sent to the 1000 block of Cheyenne Villas Point on Friday to conduct a welfare check on a woman. When they arrived, police found a woman dead at that location. She is not being identified at this time.

Police say they want to question Hedglin in connection with the Colorado Springs murder.

They consider Hedglin "armed and dangerous." He is a white man, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds with green eyes. He is bald. If you see Hedglin, please contact the Colorado Springs Police Department immediately at 719-444-7000.

According to the Colorado Army National Guard, Hedglin was a part-time soldier with their organization. The Guard told 9NEWS he is a food service specialist with no other specialized military training and has never been deployed.

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