Aircraft Sabotage Suspected

Kapiti Coast Airport

By Roger Childs

Worried about the weather but the plane was the issue

September 11 has its place in history, but this year will be remembered for aircraft interference at the Kapiti Coast Airport. We were booked on the early flight to Auckland and wondered on Tuesday night, as we listened to the wind and rain, whether we would get off the ground the next morning.

The police arrive and departure is delayed

There was no problem with the weather as there was only a brisk breeze blowing when we arrived at the terminal. It was the usual quick check-in and the young lady on the mike indicated we would be boarding on time. However time passed and then a couple of police slipped quietly through the main door and headed out the back. We were then informed that there will be a delay in boarding owing to organisational requirements.

 The pilot gives us the lowdown

BombadierAfter about an hour’s wait beyond the original departure time, we boarded and the pilot told us what was up. He outlined that

  • overnight the plane has been broken into
  • some equipment had been tampered with and an oxygen bottle taken
  • we would still be flying to Auckland, but below 10,000 feet
  • we would be giving Mt Taranaki a wide berth
  • we probably wouldn’t notice any difference from usual.

And so it proved; the flight was calm and uneventful.

More detail on the break-in

On the flight back to Paraparaumu a week later we had the same steward as on the trip north. He confirmed that the stolen oxygen bottle would have been his supplies in an emergency and that airport security had been tightened.

At the time of going to press, the intruder has not been caught. Police have stated that the break-in occurred at 4.30 am on Wednesday September 11 and that there is hazy footage of the thief on an airport CCTV camera. An oxygen bottle and a defibrillator had been taken from the plane.