New York’s primary international airport, the John F. Kennedy International Airport, was briefly closed and temporarily evacuated on Tuesday morning following a bomb scare. According to Reuters, the evacuation only involved JFK’s JetBlue terminal, which is also known as Terminal 5. Initial reports say the evacuation was ordered after officials found an unattended bag with a suspicious package near the departures area of the terminal.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) June 29, 2016
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) June 29, 2016
NEW YORK: Terminal 5 at JFK briefly evacuated for suspicious pkg, amid heightened security following Turkey attacks. pic.twitter.com/Bwdr49I9SD
— KolHaolam (@KolHaolam) June 29, 2016
The suspect bag was later checked by a Homeland Security K-9 unit, confirmed Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The incident happened at around 8:30 a.m., local time. Pentangelo added that the evacuation of the terminal was ordered in order to ensure everyone’s safety. Authorities also wanted the bomb squad that responded to the incident to work safely and without distractions in order to verify the contents of the bag. The bag was later found to be safe, and the terminal resumed normal operations.
Passengers and members of the public were not promptly informed about what caused the sudden closure of Terminal 5, although clearing the terminal safely and quickly would always take precedence over any detailed explanation during an actual evacuation.
A Facebook user uploaded a live video showing the confusion at the airport when the evacuation order was in effect. You can watch it by clicking here.
Others took to Twitter to talk about the incident.
Nothing like a good old fashioned bomb scare to help you appreciate the rest of your day. #JFK
— snap me sometime (@urbanjibaro) June 29, 2016
There were others who were worried about flying via JFK.
I was having a rest at home& I heard about the suspicious baggage at JFK in T5…I’m taking a jet blue flight in a few days from ROC to JFK
— itsjimena (@jimena2505) June 29, 2016
Pray for my husband, he travels tomorrow ⚡️ “JFK terminal reopened after evacuation”https://t.co/uTw8UNDhE7
— Lisa Ellis Williams (@wivesonpurpose) June 29, 2016
— Daisy (@daydaay) June 29, 2016
The news of this evacuation came just a day after the horrific terror attacks in Istanbul where suspected ISIS terrorists stormed the airport terminal and killed several people. An estimated 41 people were killed in the attacks which were carried out by suicide bombers. The death toll is expected to increase in the coming days.
Following the terror attacks in Turkey, several airports across the U.S. were in a heightened state of alert. It is not clear if the high alert was in place when this incident occurred.
As for the John F. Kennedy International Airport, while not the busiest in the U.S., it is considered the busiest international air passenger gateway into the United States. It is also the busiest airport in the New York City airport system. In 2015, the airport handled 56,827,154 passengers.
The airport serves as a hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It is also the operating base for JetBlue Airways. More than 90 Airlines serve the airport, which is connected to all six continents. There are six passenger terminals serving the airport, which also boasts of four runways. Originally called the New York International Airport, it was later referred to as the Idlewild Airport. Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1963.
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)