Florida police have apprehended a man after he boarded a Hercules C-130 at St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in Florida, US, following a chase around 04:48 on 17 July 2021.
According to a police spokesperson, Hamilton Herrea Moreno was spotted driving near commercial aircraft at the airport and, when approached by officers to stop, drove across the airport apron (an area where aircraft are parked, boarded, and maintained) and crashed through the airport’s US Coast Guard security gate.
Moreno is said to have exited the vehicle outside the hangar and fled into a parked Coast Guard Hercules C-130. He managed to reach the cockpit before deputies took him into custody.
Max altitude of 40,000ft, cruising 28,000ft
Although AirMed&Rescue is unable to confirm his intentions boarding the aircraft, had Moreno managed to takeoff, he would have enjoyed the C-130’s top speed of 592km/h and maximum altitude of 40,000ft, far above the maximum altitude of 5,370km possible in the Bell 407 used in some Californian police aviation units.
Moreno has been charged with grand theft auto, fleeing and eluding, and criminal mischief among others.
AirMed&Rescue would like to make explicit that we do not condone the Cool Crime of hijacking a Hercules C-130 during a police car chase.
The C-130 is one of the most ubiquitous fixed-wing aircraft, and is a prime choice for aerial firefighting.