Travelers at Newark Airport were given an intense scare Monday night, as some on social media said they were told to quickly flee Terminal A.
The panic was sparked around 8:30 p.m. after passengers, including some who were about to board their flights, were told to leave the airport by nervous airline attendants, people on social media claimed.
An official with Port Authority said that a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines approached two men at Gate 30. She grew concerned after talking with them, so she hit an alarm and told people to leave the terminal, the spokesman said.
Between 150 and 200 passengers quickly fled the area. Police were at the scene shortly after, as frightened flyers left the terminal so quickly many left behind their luggage, pictures and video showed. Some travelers evacuated onto the tarmac outside the airport’s gates.
Erin Fors, who was one of the people made to evacuate, said on Twitter that she was at the gate about to board the flight when the “chaos” ensued.
“Imagine you’re starting to board and a frazzled flight attendant comes off the plane, stops the process, asks someone to call the police, then starts yelling (with increasing loudness) ‘Evacuate!’” Fors tweeted after the ordeal. Multiple people in the terminal said it sounded like gun shots were possibly fired, but there is no evidence of any gunfire at this time.
“I ran with the crowds, hid under some seats, looked for an exit, headed out to the tarmac,” Fors later tweeted. “Sounded like gun shots but after seeing the damage in this terminal, it’s more likely it was glass being shattered from people jumping. Terrifying.”
After a few minutes, the travelers were allowed back into the terminal that was littered with abandoned bags and luggage. Some who were evacuated had to be rescreened by security upon returning inside.
The two men were later identified, a Port Authority spokesman said, and are being questioned, as is the flight attendant who triggered the alarm.
After nearly an hour, Newark Liberty Airport sent out a tweet saying, "It was determined that there was no threat in the Terminal A-3 Satellite. All passengers and employees are being rescreened as a precaution."
There was no impact to airport operations, Port Authority said.