Student who tried to steal jet to be deported to Trinidad

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

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MIAMI, United States (CMC) — The 22–year-old Trinidad and Tobago student who tried to steal an American Airlines jet from Orlando Melbourne International Airport last month has accepted a plea deal and agreed not to come back to the United States.

Nishal Sankat, the son of the former principal of the St Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Clement Sankat, had been charged with criminal theft of an aircraft, criminal trespassing and visa violation.

Police said the Florida Institute of Technology student is a dual citizen of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago with no criminal history.

On Monday he pleaded guilty to burglary of a conveyance and will be deported to Trinidad on today.

The court heard that on September 20 Sankat drove to the curb outside the airport during the early hours of the morning, left his car running, hopped a fence and boarded the plane. A maintenance worker spotted him and police took him into custody a couple of minutes later.

The authorities said a robot device was used to ensure nothing dangerous was in the parked vehicle left behind. The car was towed away after it was declared safe.

Prosecutors said he planned to steal the plane to harm himself.

Sankat's attorney said his client's mental state is delicate and that he needs treatment rather than jail time.

In a statement soon after his arrest, the Sankat family said that what has occurred “acutely underscores to the family the need to be aware of the challenges young students face, especially those living away from home and family”.

The American Airlines plane was at a maintenance facility for the installation of broadband Wi-Fi, a spokeswoman for the airline said.

The incident prompted the airport to be shut down for five hours and caused two flights to be delayed.

Meanwhile, the Trinidad and Tobago Government has said it has been informed by US law enforcement authorities regarding the deportation of Sankat.

“I wish to state that all arms of our law enforcement that deal with returning deportees have been notified and are prepared to receive Mr Sankat in the usual course of a returning national who has been deported,” National Security Minister Stuart Young said in a statement, adding, “The Ministry of National Security is in contact with US authorities to obtain as much information pertaining to Mr Sankat as possible.”

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