While authorities have charged Daniel Casillo with criminal trespass for breaching security at Kennedy Airport, he said he was just trying to get out of the water to safety, documents show.
"When his Jet Ski began to take on water, he realized he needed to swim to the shore for his own safety," said a criminal complaint against Casillo filed by the Port Authority police Saturday. "Suspect was able to swim with his ski to the shore line . . . and he then climbed the perimeter fence line, and walked toward the lights, which would be Terminal 3."
Officials acknowledge Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, had no malicious intent.
"I needed help," he told authorities, the complaint said.
But his ability to breach JFK security late Friday night, getting past its $100 million security fence and barriers undetected, could set in motion congressional hearings on homeland security, officials said.
The complaint said a Delta Air Lines employee reported to police at 11:50 p.m. that a man "in wet clothes and a bright yellow life jacket on" was walking around near gate 10 at Terminal 3.
Casillo said in the police report to the responding officer that he was with friends on a Jet Ski in Jamaica Bay, but was separated from them around 7:45 p.m. and ran out of fuel.
Another Jet Ski rider reported Casillo missing to authorities that night and a search for him was conducted in the nearby waters by the Coast Guard and the Port Authority police, apparently unaware that he was probably already on shore, walking around secured airport property.
"Upon arrival by the investigating officers, the suspect was immediately offered medical attention and the suspect did refuse," said the complaint. He was then transferred to a police facility for questioning.
Casillo could not be reached Monday night.