YUBA CITY (CBS SF) — A 20-year-old Santa Maria man is behind bars Saturday after he allegedly tried to hijack a helicopter at the Yuba County Airport.
According to authorities, Zachary Hinders jumped into the back of a chopper and ordered the pilot to take off. Hinders did not have a weapon.
It happened Thursday afternoon during a pilot training session.
“We’re on the runway, and all the sudden I see this crazy kid running straight at us on the runway,” veteran pilot Erik Vandagriff told reporters.
The man, later identified as Hinders, charged the helicopter, opened the door and jumped inside.
According to Sheriff Steve Durfor, Hinders gestured for Vandagriff to take off, and was yelling at the pilot, but couldn’t be heard over the engine noise. Vandagriff ordered him out of the helicopter.
Hinters allegedly ran from the aircraft, crossed the runway and scaled a barbed-wire fence.
Vandagriff along with the police pursued Hinders and caught him.
Hinders was booked into the Yuba County Jail on suspicion of burglary, attempted robbery and attempting to take a helicopter without the owner’s consent. Bail was set at $25,000.
More charges could be pending.
Durfor said a motive for the incident has not been determined but investigators said Hinders claimed Fidel Castro told him to take the aircraft.
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