$400,000 Police Boat For Patrols and Emergency Rescues Around LaGuardia Airport Out of Service
Fox 5 News has learned that John F. Kennedy Airport isn't the only airport in the New York area facing security issues. A $400,000 police boat used for perimeter patrols and emergency rescues around LaGuardia Airport is out of service, sources said.
Fox 5 found the Port Authority police boat in a warehouse parking lot at LaGuardia, right next to cars and nowhere near the water. Sources said it has been there for more than a month.
The specially equipped boat is supposed to check for suspicious activity in the miles of restricted waterways that surround three sides of the airport and could also rescue passengers in the event of a crash.
Juval Aviv, a prominent counter terrorism expert, said that leaves the airport vulnerable.
"It's just an open door for terrorists to come in and do what they want," Aviv says.
Port Authority police routinely patrol the airport, but with no boat to use, it is impossible for them to have a vantage point from a critical area -- the water's edge, sources said. That is where planes are continually taking off, full of passengers and fuel.
"This is a target that terrorists can only dream about and how easy is it to come from the water? Boat attacks have been notorious," Aviv says.
The $400,000 vessel is called a moose boat . It is equipped with a variety of emergency response equipment, including radar, depth sounders, fire fighting hoses, and life rafts.
The Port Authority proudly announced its arrival in 2007 after buying it with federal homeland security funds.
"We have been told we are protected and the public is not protected," Aviv says.
Fox 5 News reached out to the Port Authority a number of times to see what officials had to say about this, but had gotten no response to e-mails and phone calls.