Authorities say a homeless woman living in a shelter in San Francisco was charged after she was reportedly sighted running down the airport runway, trying to stow away on a flight to Central America. The woman, identified as Adriana Anabela Monterroso-Santos, 42, allegedly walked on a runway on Wednesday and waved her arms at a plane. After quickly being taken into police custody, she pleaded not guilty to a trespassing charge.
Although she told the officers she was hoping to hide in the cargo hold of a jet headed to her home country of Guatemala on Thursday evening, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said she continued to plead not guilty on Friday to the charges of trespassing.
She told police that she was inspired by the idea after hearing about a Santa Clara teenager who survived a five-hour flight from San Jose, California to Maui in the wheel well of a jet despite sub-zero temperatures and low oxygen levels, Wagstaffe said. The teenage boy was trying to return to his native Africa to find his mother, and Monterroso-Santos said that she was tired of being homeless and cold, and simply wanted to return to her homeland.
The veracity of the teenage boy in the wheel-well of a plane had initially been questioned, with some experts citing that survival amid such conditions was impossible, but the story did indeed check out to be true, prompting many to question airport security, which has been a hot topic since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. That particular boy hopped a fence to climb into the wheel well, where he was rendered unconscious for the majority of the 5 and-a-half-hour flight, likely due to a combination of atmospheric pressure, low temperature, and oxygen levels, but appears to have made a complete recovery since.
It wasn’t clear how Monterroso-Santos had been able to identify an airplane headed to Guatemala, and the airport has declined to comment, so it is not known if she was correct about the destination of the particular airplane. Wagstaffe said his office would be looking into the mental health care capacity of the woman, as well as how she may be assisted with locating resources to help her situation.
“If she needs help, we’ll steer her in the right direction.”
One reader on the ABC news site stated that publicity of the teenage boy’s successful stowaway in the wheel well was a bad idea, because it caused copycat cases to emerge. It has not been stated if Monterroso-Santos was an American Citizen or not.
“The news story talked about how it was a freak miracle that he survived and his body shut down to hibernation levels and he probably suffered brain damage. This inspired her to try it. You know what they say, monkey see, monkey do.”
It has not been confirmed that the particular boy suffered brain damage, but it certainly raised airline security questions, since a teenager was able to foil was is supposed to now be one of the strictest security-enforced industries in the United States.