Man charged with trying to halt departing plane at Denver airport

Rehmar “forcibly” opened a locked emergency exit door at Denver International Airport (above, in a file photo) to chase down his departing plane.
Rehmar “forcibly” opened a locked emergency exit door at Denver International Airport (above, in a file photo) to chase down his departing plane.BLOOMBERG

DENVER (REUTERS) - A 58-year-old man who arrived late for a flight to attend his high school reunion is accused of running onto a concourse at Denver International Airport in an attempt to stop the departing plane, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Marc Rehmar is charged with one count of endangering public transportation, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of hindering transportation, Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office, said in a statement.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by police, on Aug 6 Rehmar found his Ohio-bound United Airlines flight pushing back from a departing gate.

He then "forcibly" opened a locked emergency exit door, triggering an alarm, and allegedly ran onto a secured ramp area.

"Rehmar did then run out of the door into a sterile area of the airport and chased down on foot, a tug and tug driver who was actively engaged in pushing back... (an) aircraft filled with passengers," the affidavit said.

The tug driver was forced to stop, and Rehmar then allegedly insisted on boarding the plane before he was arrested, police said.

Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said the incident did not substantially delay the flight or airport operations.

Kimbrough said Rehmar told police he was en route to Ohio to attend his 40-year high school reunion.

Rehmar is free on a US$10,000 (S$14,000) bond and is due back in court on Friday to be formally advised of the charges, Kimbrough said.