Teen steals small plane and crashes it into fence and building at Fresno airport, police say


A 17-year-old girl was arrested Wednesday morning after authorities said she sneaked into a small private plane at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport and crashed it into a chain-link fence and a building.

The girl climbed over the airport’s perimeter fence in the general aviation area near East Shields and North Winery avenues and made her way to the pilot’s seat of a two-seat King Air 200 plane and managed to turn the engine on, according to a news release from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

“We’re not certain how she was able to accomplish those things,” said Drew Bessinger, chief of the airport Police Department, in a news conference.


Bessinger said the girl then crashed into the fence and building.

When authorities responded to the scene at 7:30 a.m., they found the girl in the pilot’s seat, wearing a headset. She was uncooperative and disoriented, Bessinger said.

Bessinger said there were cameras in the area, and the general aviation section of the airport had less fencing than the commercial area of the airport, about a quarter-mile away. Bessinger said authorities don’t know why the girl broke into the airport, but they don’t believe it was a terrorism-related motive.

No one was injured, airport spokeswoman Vikkie Calderon said, and the girl was booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of stealing an aircraft.