Passengers arrested at Columbia Regional Airport

Two passenger accessed plane through unsecured door

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia police confirm two people were arrested for trespass at the Columbia Regional Airport.

The incident happened Sunday, at about 6:45 a.m. on the American Airlines flight headed to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Airport security was notified that 33-year-old Martin Mendez-Costabel and 36-year-old Katie L. Mendez, both of California, had boarded the plane by accessing an unsecured door at the airline's ticket counter.

Columbia Public Works spokesman Steve Sapp says the couple was running late for their flight, so they bypassed the ticket counter then bypassed security.

The couple also found an unsecured door to the tarmac and boarded the plane.

When crews realized they did not have the right boarding pass, the passengers were removed by security and then arrested by Columbia police for trespassing.

TSA agents then re-screened all the other passengers and luggage, but nothing was found.

City officials say they are upgrading to electronic locks on some of the doors.

"Some of those changes we are implementing are electronic locks to certain passageways and areas so that it doesn't require an action for these areas to be secured, so we're working with security, the airlines, contractors and TSA's to make sure Columbia Regional is a safe airport to work out of," Sapp said.

He said some of those electronic locks have already been installed and they will continue to add those upgrades.

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