SAN JOSE — A woman who took a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles without a ticket tried at least three times that day to breach airport security before she managed to board the plane, federal law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
It was the San Jose airport's second security breach in recent months, after a teenage Somali immigrant stowed away in the wheel well of an April flight from there to Hawaii.
Marilyn Jean Hartman bypassed an agent who was screening boarding passes Monday at Mineta San Jose International Airport by sneaking through with a family, said the law enforcement officials, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because the security breach is being investigated.
Hartman then went through the electronic screening process before entering an airport terminal. Authorities say she made it through screening because she had no prohibited items on her or in her purse.
Hartman, 62, then managed to board Southwest Airlines Flight 3785 to Los Angeles International Airport and was discovered once the plane landed, the officials said.
The San Francisco woman was ordered to 24 months' probation after she pleaded no contest Wednesday in a Los Angeles courtroom to willfully and unlawfully entering the city as a stowaway on an aircraft, a misdemeanor. Hartman also was ordered to stay away from the LA airport unless she has a ticket to board a flight.
Her attorney, Elsie Wanton of San Francisco, could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who raised security concerns after April's breach, said Tuesday the latest incident was an "apparent failure by both airport security and the airline of protecting passengers from a potential threat to their safety."
In the previous incident, 15-year-old Yahya Abdi hopped a fence at San Jose's airport and hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight. He survived the arduous journey and dropped to the tarmac at a Maui airport about an hour after the plane landed. Abdi said he was trying to see his mother, a refugee in Ethiopia. He has not been charged.
San Jose airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said Wednesday the two incidents were completely unrelated. She said the airport is assisting separate investigations conducted by the Transportation Security Administration and Southwest on how Hartman was able to board the flight.