The discovery of human remains on the landing gear of Saudi-owned Nas Air jet following a flight from Beirut to Riyadh has raised a lot of questions about security at Rafik Hariri international airport.
Nas Air flight XY 720 took off from Beirut airport late Friday with 130 people on board and landed Saturday morning in the Saudi capital.
Airport workers in Riyadh found the remains of a man who reportedly tried to hitch a ride on Nas Air.
Lebanon Files has reported that MP Khaled Zahrman branded the incident a “scandal” and called for an immediate , serious and transparent investigation to identify all those responsible, noting that the airport should have in place strong measures that will prevent illegal access to the aircraft.
He added: “This unprecedented incident is a real scandal in the strict sense of the word, which means there was some deficiency in providing airport security”pointing out that the security of the runway and the aircraft should be a top priority for all airport security personnel.
Zahrman wondered: How could the passengers and flight attendants on Nas Air plane see the man running towards the aircraft ,while those in charge of monitoring airport security were unable to see him? How did this man in the first place get to the runway and where was the airport security? He added: Why didn’t the pilot stop when he was informed about the matter.
Nahar newspaper quoted well informed sources as saying , that despite the measures preventing anyone from reaching the tarmac, the man was able to approach the Saudi-owned Nas Air jet. Such a lax in security could lead to terrorist acts, the sources told an Nahar
According to An Nahar sources Lebanon has been suffering since the 1990s from the problem of illegal buildings in the vicinity of the airport that prevent the control tower from seeing part of the runway, An Nahar.
Al-Hayat newspaper said that Lebanese security authorities at Rafik Hariri international airport received from their Saudi counterparts a photo of the body which indicates the man was in his 20s.
The National News Agency said passengers on the plane spotted a man in a baseball cap with a backpack make a dash for the plane as it prepared to taxi. He stumbled once and then continued towards the plane.
“The passengers and flight attendants informed the pilot, but he did not take any action and continued takeoff without informing the Beirut control tower” that anything was amiss, according to the NNA.
Saudi al-Watan daily said the man’s backpack included his personal belongings and no identification card.
Sources at Beirut airport said the man was seen in the vicinity of the airport several times.
Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Aridi told al-Hayat that he ordered airlines based at the airport to investigate whether one of their staff was missing and urged security at the facility to probe the infiltration of any person from the airport building to the runway.
Aridi did not rule out the possibility to carry out DNA tests to find out the identity of the man.
Lebanon’s Interior Minister Ziad Baroud refused to comment on the the security breach at Beirut airport.
Baroud told Voice of Lebanon that he was waiting for the investigation “because the issue may not be a security breach particularly since there are workers on the runway.”
He vowed to complete the investigation into the incident, saying the probe was not just administrative but judicial as well.
Baroud stressed that the judiciary should be given all the necessary support to prevent any political cover-up for attackers.
Update1: Al Mustaqbal TV reported that the remains do not belong to any employee of the airport and stated that the person may have sneaked in from one of the nearby buildings surrounding the airport
Update 2: the Lebanese security services managed to identity the person whose body was found on the landing gear of the Saudi jet aircraft .
He lived in Burj el Barajnet near the airport , which explains the reasons behind his ability to infiltrate the airport runways.
The body was identified after the the Saudi Arabian authorities sent a picture of him and after the Lebanese security were able to talk to his family.
The information reveals that the person was 20 years old Lebanese and was suffering from psychological and mental disorders. His body was not distorted and had 2 cigarette butts in his ear , probably to avoid the noise of the aircraft. The investigation is continuing and DNA tests are being performed .