Aditya Singh was arrested over the weekend after he was found living in Chicago’s international airport for thee months. Once discovered, the man claimed that he was too scared to go home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Too scared to fly home
Aditya Singh was arrested on Saturday after airline staff finally asked him to provide his identification. Singh revealed a worker’s badge but officials found that it actually belonged to an operations manager who reported it missing months before.
As it turns out, the 36-year-old had been living in the airport for a whole three months. Police revealed that Aditya had arrived at the O’Hare Airport on the 19th of October and had been living off the donations of other travellers.
When questioned, the man cited that he was too scared to fly home due to coronavirus, but authorities later discovered that Singh actually lived in Los Angeles and it is not entirely clear why he was in Chicago.
Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz revealed her surprise at the situation which barred a strange resemblance to The Terminal:
So if I understand you correctly, you're telling me that an unauthorised, non-employee individual was allegedly living within a secure part of the O'Hare airport terminal from 19 October 2020 to 16 January 2021, and was not detected? I want to understand you correctly.
Singh was then ultimately charged with felony criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport as well as misdemeanour theft and has now been banned from re-entering the airport.
Ortiz revealed that Singh’s actions could be considered a threat to the public:
Based upon the need for airports to be absolutely secure so that people feel safe to travel, I do find those alleged actions do make him a danger to the community.
However, the O’Hare Airport has hit back at this claim stating that while the incident was still under investigation, Aditya ‘did not pose a security risk to the airport or to the travelling public.’
How can you survive in an airport?
Some may ask just how you can live inside an airport for an extended period, but it’s really not that difficult (provided you don’t get caught) and has been done quite a few times before.
The most famous of these instances is that of Mehran Nasseri who managed to survive in Terminal One of France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport for a total of 18 years.
Nasseri’s situation was a bit of a complicated one. After being expelled from Iran in the late ’70s, the man was granted refugee status in Belgium where he spent some years before deciding to immigrate to England.
Nasseri had one British parent, which means he qualified for an English passport, but after having his paperwork stolen, he was denied entry to the country and was returned on a flight to France. Nasseri was then arrested in the airport, but it was soon decided that his entry was legal. And, as he also had no ‘home country’ to be returned to, Nasseri was doomed to remain in the airport.
The ex-Iranian then set himself up in the public space. Accompanied by his luggage, the man spent his days writing in his diary and reading while being fed by airport staff.
During his 18 year stay, both Belgium and France had offered Nasseri new papers and even residency status but he had refused for multiple reasons, mainly that he was determined to go to the UK. In 2006 Nasseri’s airport stay ended after he was hospitalized. Since then, he has been assisted by the Red Cross and has been staying in a shelter in Paris.
Back in 2003, Stephen Spielberg bought the right’s to Nasseri’s story and is said to be the inspiration behind the movieThe Terminal. However, Spielberg failed to acknowledge Nasseri in the credits and ultimately decided not to use his story.