A terminal at Newark Airport was evacuated on Monday night, amid fears of a bomb threat or an active shooter threat. Neither of those threats have been confirmed by authorities, though many users did take videos of armed police running in the direction of the evacuated terminal. Passengers have since been allowed back into the terminal.
The chaos began at around 8:30, local time. NFL writer David Lombardi wrote, “Insane situation here at Newark Airport. They just told us all to evacuate and whole terminal scattered. Bags left behind. I initially thought it was an active shooter. Maybe a bomb threat. Confusion and chaos”
Lombardi then followed up, “Based on what I’m gathering, there was an argument between an employee and a passenger at the gate that for some reason escalated to someone yelling ‘Evacuate!’ And that’s when the chaos ensued.”
Here’s what you need to know:
People Report Panicked Evacuations Out of the Terminal & Onto the Tarmac
Many took to Twitter to share images and videos of their terrifying evening. One person wrote of the event, “Most terrifying few minutes of my life. Being in terminal A at EWR about to board my flight when a flight attendant starts screaming evacuate. Absolute chaos. Currently standing on an active tarmac. I just want to go home.”
Though authorities did eventually let everyone back into the terminal, people still complained of the chaos, and of the fact that they had to leave their luggage unmonitored.
One person wrote, “Absolute chaos. People looking for their things. I’ve never seen anything like this. Terrible. Just terrible.”
Many on Twitter have referenced hearing a loud bang or called the incident a shooting scare. For the record, authorities have not confirmed there was any sort of active shooter threat at the terminal.
Other civilians who were there have mentioned an Alaska Airlines employee allegedly being the one who called for the evacuation. Lombardi tweeted, “Based on what I’ve gathered, an Alaska Airlines employee saw 2 men she deemed suspicious and made a scene about it. Her fellow coworkers didn’t deem the men suspicious and the employee began to have a breakdown. She yelled ‘Evacuate!’ at that point and the chaos ensued.”
This has not been confirmed by Alaska Airlines.
Another person reiterated a similar account, tweeting, “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!’”
That same person wrote in a subsequent post, “I ran with the crowds, hid under some seats, looked for an exit, headed out to the tarmac. 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.”
The chaos of the evening came amid an already chaotic day at airports across the country, as thousands of flights were either cancelled or delayed in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian.