We have breaking news coming in from New Jersey where a part of the Liberty International Airport has been evacuated after airport security discovered a suspicious pressure cooker inside Terminal A. According to CBS News, the Port Authority Police Department has confirmed the presence of the suspicious pressure cooker on level 3 of Terminal A from where regional flights for United Airlines depart. Authorities have started a preliminary examination of the suspicious item and officers from the Essex County Bomb Squad have been called in for further inquiry. Local police and K-9 units are also reportedly on the scene.
According to airport officials, the decision to evacuate part of the terminal was to ensure everyone’s safety. While there is no information about the suspicious item on the official website of the airport, a statement from the official Twitter handle of Newark Liberty International Airport has confirmed that the evacuation was underway. The tweet sent out from the Twitter handle only said that there was some “police activity” in front of Terminal A. There was no reference to the pressure cooker or an explosive in the tweet.
This first tweet was followed up by another tweet nearly an hour later in which authorities hinted that the security concern has been addressed.
People have also started talking about the incident on social media. Here are a few tweets.
At this moment there is no further information as this is a developing story.
Update: Authorities have now given an all-clear.
Hours after the incident, it is now revealed that the pressure cooker was first spotted by an American Airlines worker who was engaged in doing curbside check-ins. He then alerted a TSA agent who was nearby. In an interview with local media the TSA agent said he was initially surprised to see the pressure cooker there. In fact, law enforcement agencies are also wondering if this was a dry run for a possible future terror attack.
“It was literally like a shocker, you know? Why would an individual actually leave that curbside? Maybe it was a test run, you never know.”
The discovery of the suspicious pressure cooker led to a complete evacuation of Terminal A that led to several delays. Officers from the Port Authority, K9’s and the bomb squad swarmed the building and made sure everything was safe for further operation.
Several travelers were left stranded outside the airport following the evacuation. However, most of them remained calm after realizing that it was being done to ensure their safety. There was some panic in the initial stages because the authorities refused to divulge the reasons for the sudden terminal evacuation.
According to Nadia Davis, a traveler who was there at the time, she found it “disturbing” that no one was telling them what was happening.
“They said nothing, and that’s what I found disturbing. Say something. Let us know what’s happening.”
Another traveler identified as Tameerah Jackson adds,
“They just blocked off Terminal A, so we went to Terminal B. We tried to get on the A train – the A train said they weren’t letting anybody off at Terminal A due to police activity, so we went back to Terminal B, we went downstairs, we tried to walk across. The cops stopped us.”
Jackson said she eventually missed her flight. She was supposed to be on a vacation that was to start on Saturday night. She had to postpone her trip to Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, authorities from the Port Authority Police Department are still investigating the incident and are looking for the individual who left the pressure cooker inside the terminal.
[Featured Image by Julio Cortez/AP Images]