McCrory On Stowaway Investigation: "This Is A Federal Problem"

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - Friday’s announcement by the district attorney from Norfolk County, Massachusetts said they had enough evidence to suggest Delvonte Tisdale climbed into the wheel well of a Boeing 737 and fell out of the jet just outside Boston last month.

Following that announcement, former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory told Eyewitness News the incident will prompt an international review of airport safety procedures.

He even said he "wouldn't be surprised" if Charlotte leaders are called to testify before Congress about what investigators have labeled a "major breach in security."

For five years, McCrory served on the Homeland Security Advisory Commission, along with 17 other leaders, including airline CEO's and the former director of the FBI.

“We are spending tens of millions of dollars protecting our airplanes from terrorists," McCrory said. "So to see a teenager gain access to a plane--not only on the ground but also up in the air—it has got to raise some major red flags from a national, and international perspective."

The TSA has said very little since investigators revealed they believe Tisdale breached security at Charlotte Douglas and gained access to a plane. Its only released a brief statement saying the airport--not the TSA--is responsible for "access control security."

McCrory says first and foremost, this is a federal problem.

"No one can pass the buck when it comes to access to an airplane. Especially by a teenager."

Eyewitness News spoke to Delvonte Tisdale's stepmom in Baltimore. She said she's furious at what investigators call a major breach in security.

"A 16-year-old boy managed to get onto the airport, climb up into a plane, and died inside this plane," said Diane Turner. "With nobody seeing him. No camera. No security. No anything."

McCrory believes the TSA and Homeland Security will use Tisdale's death to call for a major overhaul of perimeter security.

"I'm sure they'll look at fencing, lighting, cameras, and more people on the ground."

Investigators said Tisdale stowed away on a plane, but they aren't saying for sure how he did it. Eyewitness News has interviewed commercial pilots and Homeland Security experts who agree the most likely scenario is that he hopped a perimeter fence.

Charlotte Douglas Airport director Jerry Orr said as the investigation continues, the airport will make security changes as needed. The new developments in the investigation even had passengers concerned about security. Lauren Mihalchik was flying from Charlotte to Boston. She said, "I don't understand how someone could get through security and do all that. It obviously shows that the airport hasn't done something right."

In a phone converstation with Orr, Eyewitness News asked if the airport can reassure people that it is safe to fly. Orr said they take security very seriously, but said nobody can guarantee 100 percent safety.

 

RAW VIDEO: Norfolk D.A. Details Timeline In Tisdale Case

RAW VIDEO: Norfolk D.A.: There Better Be A Full Investigation

Previous Stories: December 7, 2010: Report: Aviation Grease Found On Pants Of Teen Found Dead Near Boston November 23, 2010: Police Look Into Possibility Teen Fell From Plane November 22, 2010: Students Mourn Teen Found Dead Near Boston November 19, 2010: Charlotte, Massachusetts Investigators Gather Clues At Missing Teen's Home