Stolen Cessna's Pilot Captured

Pilot took off running after plane landed, officials say.

ByABC News
April 6, 2009, 8:57 PM

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2009— -- A pilot who allegedly stole a Cessna plane from a Canadian flight school and was pursued for hours across the Midwest by fighter jets, was taken into custody after he landed on a Missouri highway late today and took off running, an FBI spokesman said.

The pilot landed the single engine Cessna 172 on U.S. Highway 60 in Ellsinore, Mo., at approximately 9:50 p.m. ET, and was caught by Missouri State Highway Patrol officers, FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said.

The pilot was identified as Yavuz Berke, formerly known as Adam Leon, a 31-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen who was born in Turkey, Kolko said.

The plane had been escorted by two F-16 fighter jets since shortly after it crossed into U.S. airspace from Canada, and the pilot did not respond to multiple requests that he establish communications with ground controllers.

Burke was apparently treated for depression last Friday and left his girlfriend a good-bye note, Canadian officials told the U.S. government. Berke's vehicle was left at the airport in Canada with the keys still in it.

A Customs and Border Protection aircraft also closely monitoring the Cessna.

The plane entered American airspace over Michigan's Upper Peninsula at 4:23 p.m. ET today and was trailed by the military aircraft since 4:43 p.m. as it flew over Minnesota, south through Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

At one point, the Wisconsin state capitol building in Madison was evacuated as a precaution as the plane flew over the city.

Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario, confirmed to ABC News that one of its aircraft was stolen today and flown out of Thunder Bay International Airport at 2:55 p.m.