U.S. Fighter Jets Chase Stolen Canadian Plane

April 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A cross country pursuit over the Canadian border involving fighter jets and a stolen plane caused quite a security scare Monday night. Had everything gone according to his plan, police said Adam Leon would not be alive. He's the man who led F-16 fighter jets on a 6 hour international chase, crossing from Canada into U.S. airspace Monday afternoon. Authorities said Leon's wild ride began at Thunder Bay Airport in Ontario.

Leon flew a stolen single-engine Cessna first into Minnesota, then into Wisconsin. Where the two F-16 jets joined him.

The fighter pilots tried using hand signals and flares to get Leon to stop flying, but to no avail.

audio under graphic- voice of mike kucharek/norad spokesman "This is clearly a violation of United States airspace. The pilot has failed to follow the directions of the [f-16] pilots and has failed to contact the F.A.A. controllers, as is required," said NORAD spokesman Mike Kucharek.

Hours later, he finally landed on a highway in Elsinore, Missouri. He abandoned the plane and hitched a ride to a local convenience store where authorities caught up with him.

One state trooper said Leon told them he was trying to commit suicide. "His idea was to fly the aircraft into us airspace where he would be shot down. He actually seemed fairly happy that it came to a good end," said Missouri State Patrolman Justin Watson.

Leon was transferred Tuesday morning to a Missouri facility for federal suspects where he is being held without bond.

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