Inadequate Security Allowed Delvonte Tisdale to Enter Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Grounds and Stow Away on US Airways Plane, Says TSA Report

April 20, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a Transportation Security Administration report, 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale was able to stow away on a US Airways plane last November because of inadequate security staffing at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Tisdale died after falling out of the plane while it was in the air. His body was found in a Boston suburb. In our North Carolina injury lawyer blog last December, we reported that Tisdales parents were considering suing US Airways, the airport, TSA, and/or other parties who might have contributed to allowing him to stow aboard the plane for his wrongful death.

Following the tragic accident, TSA and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department conducted a joint probe into how the teenager managed to sneak onto airport property and hide in the plane without being detected. CMPD also asked TSA to conduct an additional review of the security breach.

TSA sent a redacted version of the report to the CMPD last week. Compiled in February, the report is called “Delvonte Tisdale Investigation: Security Breach and Plane Boarding.”

According to the report, between when the plane left the gate and when it took off, Tisdale had a little over an hour to stow onto the plane. The report says evidence indicates that the teenager did not access the plane while it was at the gate or that he entered the airport through the terminal.

Many of the comments in the report were blocked out. However, it did express concerns that current security levels were not adequate for a major metropolitan airport and greater law enforcement allocations is recommended. Also, the report noted that all officers are also EMT certified and handle medical calls that occur on the property, and that perhaps contract security officers (rather than police officers, who are supposed to concentrate on security issues) should be retained to handle such matters.

Security staffing cited in security breach involving teen at airport, WISTV, April 19, 2011

Read the TSA Report

Family of dead wheel-well stow-away to sue TSA, HSNW, January 20, 2011

Family of Charlotte, North Carolina Teen Who Fell From US Airways Plane Want to Know How He Was Able to Stow Away, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 17, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Transportation Security Administration

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport


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