Lawyer: Student pilot who tried to steal jet felt ‘overwhelmed,’ just wanted to go home

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Nishal Kiran Sankat wanted to go home.

In little ways, through conversation and his actions, the 22-year-old student pilot with less than a year to go on his studies to become a commercial pilot was sending that message to friends and family, according to his attorney.

“He was going to do something dramatic to draw attention to what he was saying. It would be something that said, ‘You should have paid attention to me when I said, “I want to leave,”‘ and that they would know after the fact,” said Greg Eisenmenger, Sankat’s attorney.

The Trinidadian national made his statement when he attempted to commandeer an out-of-service Airbus at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. 

Nearly two weeks later, after federal agents dissected Sankat’s emotional struggles and ruled out terrorism, a plea deal was reached.

The part-time Florida Institute of Technology student – at times tearful during talks with his attorney – was released from the Brevard County Jail Complex on Wednesday and escorted by FBI agents to Fort Lauderdale.

There Sankat, who lived in a Melbourne condo his family owned, was placed on a flight to his Caribbean homeland, accompanied by his father, president of the 4,000-student University of Belize.

Sankat, who often posted on social media about becoming a commercial pilot, was banned from re-entering the U.S. as part of his agreement with prosecutors.

Sankat, a dual-citizen of Canada, also lost his pilot’s license – issued in January – and placed on a no-fly list. However, Eisenmenger sees the deal as a second chance for Sankat.

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