A United Airlines pilot, identified as 63-year-old Kenneth Henderson Jones, has been arrested for wielding an axe and causing significant damage to a parking barrier at Denver International Airport in the United States. The incident, caught on camera, prompted an internal investigation by the airline.
Jones, a pilot certified to operate larger commercial jets, took matters into his own hands after becoming frustrated while attempting to exit the airport’s employee parking lot. Sources indicate that long queues at the lot’s exit gates had tested the patience of many drivers that day.
In a video capturing the bizarre episode, Jones can be seen retrieving the axe from his vehicle’s trunk and relentlessly swinging it at the parking barrier, striking it 23 times. The resulting damage is estimated at $700.
Airport staff members intervened, engaging in a physical struggle with Jones to disarm him. With the arrival of a second airport employee, Jones finally relinquished the axe. Law enforcement swiftly arrested him, charging him with misdemeanor criminal mischief.
“He was removed from the schedule and is on leave while United conducts an internal investigation”, stated Russel Carlton, Corporate Communications Manager for United Airlines.
Upon being taken into custody, Jones explained to officers that he had reached his “breaking point” due to the long wait in the exit queue and had aimed to expedite the departure process for others by forcibly removing the barrier. He was released from custody later that same day and he is expected to appear in court on September 25th.
Jones had no prior arrests in the state of Colorado, according to available records. As the investigation unfolds, United Airlines and Denver International Airport continue to monitor the situation.
This incident is not the first involving a United Airlines pilot this year. Last month, another United pilot made headlines for showing up to fly under the influence of alcohol at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. The 63-year-old captain registered six times over the legal blood alcohol limit during a breathalyzer test, resulting in his arrest and the cancellation of the transatlantic flight he was scheduled to pilot, from Paris to Washington. The pilot received a six-month suspended prison sentence, a €4,500 fine, a one-year ban from French airspace, and was dismissed by United Airlines.