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The man who gate-crashed Merkel's plane

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The man who gate-crashed Merkel's plane
Photo: DPA
12:58 CEST+02:00
He is known only as Volkan T. But the mystery bodybuilder is the man behind one of Germany’s more bizarre news stories this summer, making him our German of the week.

His actions have made headlines around the world, but have not ended well for him and left military chiefs red-faced.

On July 25th the 24-year-old, wearing nothing but his underpants, boarded a government jet used by Chancellor Merkel and, high on drugs, staged a one-man party.

He pressed buttons in the cockpit, sprayed foam from a fire extinguisher around the jet’s plush interior and jumped on the wing of the Airbus 319.

The full details of the embarrassing intrusion were made public by the Welt newspaper on Sunday after they were leaked an eight-page police report.

They detail how Volkan even released an inflatable emergency slide from the jet inside the supposedly secure military area of Cologne airport.

The Welt newspaper said the bodybuilder was able to get onto the government plane clutching a bag of ecstasy and marijuana as the emergency door was open. He had got into the airport by telling guards he was going to a wedding and then climbed over a barbed wire fence.

But rather than rush to remove the intruder once he accidentally pushed an alarm button in the cockpit, security services took four hours to remove him.

Merkel, meanwhile, was watching an opera in Bayreuth and her defence minister Thomas de Maizière, who is underfire over Euro Hawks and drones, is facing fresh questions. Defence spokesman for the main opposition partythe SPD Rainer Arnold told the Welt “This incident must be fully explained.”

Germany’s Bundeswehr, which is supposed to protect the plane, knew there was someone on the plane from 8.40pm, according to the police report.

But it was not until nearly 10pm that they heightened their security alert from level three to the highest – level one.

Military police arrived at 10.15pm and at 11.23pm used a megaphone to ask the man to get out. He was eventually arrested after being bitten by a police dog shortly before 12.30pm.

Volkan has been detained in a psychiatric unit and could face charges of trespassing and damage.

Meanwhile, the plane needed repairs estimated to cost €100,000 and only flew again this week.

The Local/tsb

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