A bad bomb joke led to the main terminal of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport being evacuated over the weekend, The New York Times reports. Although the hockey referee and inappropriate comedian said his comments were meant as a joke, the TSA was forced to clear the area until an investigation could be completed.
Peter Friesema was charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct for the bad joke he made about the bomb that could have been hiding in his friend’s luggage. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Friesema engaged an Alaska Airlines ticket agent in conversation shortly after midnight. The referee, noticing that the agent had placed his sticker on his friend’s bags, became concerned about the possibility of a mix-up. The lady explained that, since the luggage was headed to the same destination, the sticker ultimately didn’t matter.
It was at this point in the exchange that Friesema decided to make a curious statement. “But my friend’s bag has a bomb in it,” he quipped. While the referee had hoped the remark would generate copious amounts of laughter, authorities were forced to evacuate the airport in order to investigate the claims.
“[Friesema] made a statement about a bomb in a bag,” airport manager John Parrott explained in an email to the Associated Press. “That caused us and the airlines, the TSA, the airport police, to have to evacuate the building, the terminal.”
Many of the people who were forced to leave the main terminal were not properly dressed to handle the temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska. Around one in the morning, another terminal was opened to house the freezing travelers, though only one bus could shuttle them to warmth. Realizing something needed to be done to keep these people warm, a car rental center was opened to give folks a suitable place to wait.
Do you think airports should treat all bomb threats, even bad jokes, seriously?