PHOENIX, Arizo -- The driver of a suspected stolen truck Thursday led police on a chase on the tarmac of a major US airport, weaving dramatically between moving planes after breaching airfield security.
The bizarre intrusion at Sky Harbor International Airport in the Phoenix in the southwestern state of Arizona ended after the vehicle crashed through two chain link perimeter fences before grinding to a halt, allowing police to arrest the driver at gunpoint.
Airport spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said that traffic at the busy hub was interrupted only briefly as police cars pursued the runaway motorist as he races alongside at least two moving passenger jets.
"There could have been a problem but we're so delighted that there was none. Airport operations were temporarily suspended in the area where he was," Ostreicher told CNN.
It was unclear how the driver managed to breach the security perimeter at the airport, which are amongst the most protected strategic sites in the United States following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The half-hour chase began on a freeway near Phoenix, but helicopters carrying television cameras lost site of the pick-up truck after it disappeared into a covered parking area at the airport.
The vehicle however reappeared on the airport's tarmac a few minutes later, roaring up alongside loaded commercial jets were apparently in the process of taxiing for take-off.
A man was in custody following the incident as authorities scrambled to find out how he managed to simply drive onto the airport's sensitive tarmac area which is dotted with billions of dollars worth of aircraft.