O’Hare’s invisible man. How does someone live at the airport undetected for almost 3 months?

Questions abound in the bizarre story surrounding Aditya Singh, the man found alive at O’Hare International Airport for nearly three months. The most important is the most obvious: How could security personnel at O’Hare, one of the busiest airports in the world, fail to notice someone living in a secure area, turning it into their own? Airbnb?

The Jan. 16 arrest of Singh, 36, brings to mind comparisons to “The Terminal,” the 2004 film in which Tom Hanks plays an international traveler with an invalid passport who lives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. York for nine months. Singh’s case is quite different. In the film, authorities allowed Hanks’ character to live at the airport while they knew what to do with him. Singh is charged with criminal trespassing in a restricted area of ​​an airport, as well as theft of misdemeanor.

In October, Singh was to leave Los Angeles for India with a stopover in O’Hare. But he never made it to India and instead started living in a secure part of O’Hare, hanging out in the entrance areas and walking around Terminals 1, 2 and 3, authorities say. . Friends contacted by the Tribune said Singh was safe but was afraid to travel due to COVID and viewed his time at the airport as a “karmic lesson”.

For food, he relied on handouts from passengers. So was it Gold Coast Dogs or Burrito Beach? What did he do with all this free time? Did he take a walk in O’Hare’s aeroponic garden? And about those passengers who helped him: didn’t they find his situation a little offbeat? Somewhat suspicious in the “see something, say something” era of air travel?

He was O’Hare’s invisible man until January 16, when two United Airlines employees noticed him and asked for his identification. He showed them an airline employee identification badge who had gone missing on October 19, the day before Singh’s arrival, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Now Singh is in big trouble. But so does O’Hare.

Security at airports is serious business. After September 11, terrorist attacks took place in the airports of Moscow (2011), Karachi (2014), Brussels (2016), Istanbul (2016) and Paris (2017), among others. Airports are easy targets of the first order. The potential for massive casualties is great, and a strike against an airport is a blow to a vital piece of a city’s or country’s infrastructure.

Although Singh’s long stay was a blatant breach of security, there is no evidence that he posed a threat, authorities say. “While we are not speculating on Mr. Singh’s motives at this point, he has decided to stay in the secure area and has done everything possible to blend in as a passenger and airline employee until his arrest, “a spokesman for the city’s aviation department told us. . Singh “did not leave the secure side, and at no time did he pose a threat to the safety of the airport or the traveling public.

“A multi-agency investigation bringing together our federal and local law enforcement partners was launched immediately and is continuing,” the spokesperson said.

We and the rest of the city look forward to the results of this investigation. How come the staff at O’Hare didn’t notice – and report – the same face lingering around the halls and gates of the airport for almost three months? Ald. Matt O’Shea, 19th, chairman of the city council’s aviation committee, stressed the need for a “full investigation to ensure this does not happen again.” … For someone to go relatively unnoticed for an extended period of time, this is a cause for concern.

O’Hare helps define Chicago as a global city. It’s a driver of commerce, and it’s a reason companies are moving their headquarters here. Chicago cannot afford to have doubts about its basic security.

– Chicago Tribune


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