(NEW YORK) — The man who unwittingly breached John F. Kennedy Airport’s state-of-the art security system after his jet ski failed in New York’s Jamaica Bay was trying to get caught as a way to be rescued.
“I didn’t mean to do this, but I exposed something really important, and that’s a flaw in security,” Daniel Casillo told ABC News Tuesday.
Casillo, 31, swam up and entered the airport grounds on Aug. 10 after his jet ski broke down outside the airport in Jamaica Bay. Casillo bypassed the airport’s multimillion-dollar security system with little effort. He was arrested by stunned security officials at America’s sixth-largest airport.
Casillo’s night started aboard his newly repaired, bright-yellow personal watercraft in Jamaica Bay. It broke down just outside of the airport’s approach.
“I looked around. No lights, no boats, nothing. No noise. Just pitch black,” Casillo said.
With no idea what to do, Casillo spotted the lighted control tower in the distance. He left the water scooter and embarked on a three-mile swim to reach land. Still wearing his life jacket, Casillo then hiked through a muddy marsh when he reached a chain-link, barbed-wire fence.
“I just made the decision I’m going to have to get found. I’m going to take it upon myself to get over this fence to get seen. Something has to happen,” Casillo said.
Cold and disoriented, Casillo climbed the 8-foot fence, but nothing happened. Despite climbing the fence and violating the law, Casillo remained undetected and headed toward the control tower.
“That was the only thing lit up that I could go to,” Casillo said.
Casillo walked across two runways past security, cameras and motion detectors that the airport recently paid millions of dollars to install.
“I figured I was going to be on cameras,” he said. “That somebody is going to pick me up and maybe a helicopter is going to come or a police car.”
Still unnoticed and wearing his life jacket, Casillo entered Delta’s Terminal 3 dripping wet when he finally walked up to a cargo worker.
Casillo was arrested and charged with felony trespass for his misadventure. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
New York Port Authority officials told ABC News at the time of the security breach that they “took immediate action to increase its police presence with round-the-clock patrols of the facility’s perimeter and increased patrols by boat of the surrounding waterway.”
“We have called for an expedited review of the incident and a complete investigation to determine how Raytheon’s perimeter intrusion detection system-which exceeds federal requirements-could be improved. Our goal is to keep the region’s airports safe and secure at all times,” the Port Authority said in a statement.
Casillo says he could’ve walked on to any airplane of his choosing at any time during that night.
“The whole intention the whole time was to make myself seen,” he said.
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