The incident kicked off around 9:30 p.m., when officers at Eppley Airfield encountered a man in front of the airport acting "bizarre," flailing his arms and screaming that people were trying to kill him, Tim Conahan, Chief of Police for the Omaha Airport Authority, told ABC News.
With several officers in pursuit, the man -- whose identity remains unknown -- ran into a parking garage, exited through another entrance, and hid in some bushes, Conahan said. He then scaled an eight-foot barbed wire perimeter fence and entered the secure ramp area, where jumped into an unlocked Southwest pickup truck that had its engine running. During the chase, the man stripped down to his underwear.
He proceeded to drive the pickup truck across the north ramp until two police cruisers cut him off. Undeterred, he doubled back and drove under the jet bridge of a Southwest aircraft that was boarding passengers, crashing into its nose gear, said Conahan. According to Southwest, there were approximately 18 passengers on board the Denver-bound Boeing 737 at the time of the incident.
The pilot, who was in the cockpit, suffered a bump to the knee, while a flight attendant suffered a bump to the elbow, according to Conahan. Several passengers aboard reportedly said they felt the plane shake as luggage was jostled in the overhead bins. Following the incident, Southwest said in a statement, "We are removing the aircraft from service to inspect for damage. We are replacing the crew and the aircraft, and the flight is expected to operate with an approximate three-hour delay."
The man -- who suffered "minor injuries" from climbing over the barbed wire fence and from the impact of the crash, according to Conahan -- was taken into police custody and hospitalized. Omaha police say charges are pending.