'Horrific scenes' at airport: Man arrested 15 Dec 2012
_ A man was arrested today at Sydney Airport, charged with impersonating a pilot.
According to a NSW Police spokesperson, the man, Graham Keever (28), was caught wandering around the airport offering 'inappropriate advice' to children on how to fly a Boeing 747.
Mr Keever remained unspotted for several hours, during which time he walked around the airport dressed in a pilot's uniform that he had rented from a costume shop.
Since his arrest, several people have come forth with disturbing accounts of the man's demeanor and conduct.
One witness, Helen Opgaard, said that Mr Keever seemed very professional and pleasant at first.
“My son was so excited. He ran to the man and asked if he was a real pilot. I distinctly heard him reply, 'Why of course I am. This is an airport isn't it?'”
Apparently the boy asked for the Mr Keever's autograph, which the man gladly provided. That slip of paper is presently in police custody.
“And then my son asked if it was hard to fly a plane.”
“The man told my son it was very easy. I remember his words, his slow, calm voice. You wouldn’t have guessed what was to come. He said, 'Why son, all you do is sit down in the captain's seat, turn the ignition key, check the petrol tank, put it in gear, grab the steering wheel and you just go –'.”
At this point in our interview, Mrs Opgaard grew teary, so traumatised by what came next. Unable to describe it, somehow she found it easier to recreate the scene before a crowd of spectators and journalists.
Apparently, as we witnessed Mrs Opgaard show us, Mr Keever spread out his arms at his side like wings, blew a load engine-sounding raspberry, and galloped around the airport.
“He did it for several minutes, oblivious to the effect this sort of behaviour might have on others,” Mrs Opgaard explained.
“It was horrific. I'll never forget it. I tried to hide my son from seeing it, but it was too late. I don't think my little boy will ever fly again. I feel so ashamed.”
Since being in custody, Mr Keever's lawyer addressed the media with a brief statement.
“My client has asked me to read this statement. 'I will fight these charges. I am totally innocent. I have a pilot's license, but lost it … in a smouldering volcano in Uganda. I am a certified pilot, a pilot of the skies. I acted as any sound-of-mind decent pilot would act before an innocent child, who wanted nothing more than a chance at freedom, a chance to fly to the place where the gods themselves reside'. My client refuses to answer any further questions.”
Mr Keever will face court tomorrow morning for a pre-trial hearing.
For now, a Victims' Support Line has been set up, to assist other people affected by today's events.
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