News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Mon. Sept. 24, 2018: A22-year-old Caribbean national who allegedly tried to steal an American Airlines Airbus 321 at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport last Thursday, is being held in Brevard County Jail in Melbourne, Florida until his trial.
Nishal Sankat, the Florida Institute of Technology student who was born in Trinidad and Tobago has now traded his student and driver’s ID for inmate number 4861424.
He is charged with unarmed burglary of an occupied aircraft, grand theft and trespassing on airport property, according to jail records. His trial date is set for October 18th. Sankat will be represented by the Public Defender’s Office.
Trinidad & Tobago Education Minister, Anthony Garcia, revealed to media on the island that he spoke with Sankat’s father, current University of Belize President and former UWI principal, Professor Clement Sankat, who mentioned that depression was something his son was dealing with.
FBI reports indicate Sankat has claimed he wanted to steal the plane to hurt himself.
Sankat has been attending Florida Tech since 2014 and recently petitioned to graduate in 2019, according to university officials. He’s been studying aviation management on a part-time basis and has taken part in some flight training in the past.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Sankat received his commercial pilot’s certification in January and was qualified to fly multi-engine aircraft and was instrument rated.
His family issued a statement sent Thursday to the Trinidad Express Newspapers stating: “Professor Clement Sankat and his family appreciate the many inquiries and calls of support they have received as they go through this extremely difficult period. At this time, they have not yet been able to speak with their son, and since they have limited information, are still trying to ascertain all the facts surrounding the incident, and his well-being.”
Meanwhile, Justice Rhonda E. Babb, who denied the 22-year-old a US$20,500 bond last Friday after the prosecution raised fears he was a flight risk, was also reportedly born in Trinidad and Tobago according to Trinidad Guardian reports.
Babb, who graduated from the Brooklyn School of law school in 1984, has served on the Florida County bench since 2002, after being appointed by then Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Judge Babb specialized in Immigration, Real Estate, Consumer, and Family Law while a sole practitioner in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Member of the Caribbean Association of Women Judges.