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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Woman scales barbed-wire fence at Halifax airport, runs onto tarmac

HALIFAX - No charges are expected against a woman who scaled a barbed-wire fence surrounding Halifax's airport and ran onto the tarmac Sunday in an attempt to prevent a plane from taking off, RCMP in Nova Scotia said.

The 37-year-old woman reportedly believed her partner was onboard an aircraft and was trying to stop its departure, said RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc.

"It's very unusual. I've never seen such an incident in my many years of policing," said LeBlanc in an interview. "Thankfully this lady was apprehended very quickly."

Officers discovered through their investigation that the woman's partner was not on any plane, Leblanc added.

Peter Spurway, a spokesman for the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, said control tower officials spotted the woman almost immediately after she jumped the three-metre fence and made it onto the airfield, around 8:30 a.m on Sunday.

She was on the tarmac for a few minutes, he said.

"I've been there eight years and this is a first for me," said Spurway, describing the incident as rare. "It is not an easy thing to scale that fence."

She may have sustained some minor injuries on the barbed wire, he added.

While the woman did not come into contact with any aircraft, air traffic controllers did reroute a small plane taxiing nearby as a safety precaution.

The woman was detained by an airport employee before RCMP officers arrived on the scene.

Spurway said the incident had virtually no effect on airport operations.

Besides a three-metre, barbed-wire fence, the airport's perimeter is protected by video cameras, infrared sensors and motion detectors.

However, the situation did give airport officials cause for reflection.

"We'll take a look at this incident and see if there's anything we need to adjust to maintain the security of the airfield," said Spurway.

LeBlanc said the woman was taken to hospital for a medical assessment.

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