Former baggage handler, 20 year old Paul Sant, has pleaded guilty to 4 counts of endagering the safety of an aircraft in flight and 1 count of transmitting intereference that could endanger the safety of another person in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today, 5 September. Each offence carries a maximum 20 year jail term. The charges have never been tried before in Australia.
The charges stem from incidents between September and November last year. He made fake radio calls on 3 seperate frequencies to Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia flights coming in to land at Melbourne. He also issued a false mayday call claiming he was piloting a light plane that crashed into a river. One of the fake radio calls resulted in a Virgin Australia flight iniatating a go around. He was later heard on a police listening device telling friends to search for his voice on YouTube.
Sant was obsessed with aircraft and hoped to become a pilot. He has been bailed and will return to the County Court in February for a plea hearing. As part of his bail conditions he must stay at least 2 kilometres away from any airport and not possess radio equipment.