NY airport terminal partially evacuated after bomb threat

NEW YORK • A disgruntled customer prompted a partial shutdown of a terminal at LaGuardia Airport after telling an airline employee he had a bomb, police said.

The customer had attempted to purchase a ticket at the Spirit Airlines counter in Terminal B on Saturday morning but began arguing with the employee, a Police Department spokesman said.

The man walked away but then returned around 7.15am with a bag that he placed on the counter, saying it contained a bomb.

Half the terminal's concourses were shut down as the man, In John Park, 70, from Farmington, Michigan, was taken into custody by officers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mr Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the authority's police, said. He said charges were pending against Mr Park.

The New York Police Department's bomb squad investigated the bag and determined that the threat was unfounded.

Confusion prevailed as people were evacuated to the sidewalk outside the terminal and traffic around the airport was diverted, passengers said.

On Twitter, the airport warned passengers of disrupted flights and delays.

Mr Ed Kazmierczak, 36, said he and his family had arrived at the airport around 7.20am and were walking into the terminal when a New York state trooper with a rifle stopped them, telling them there was a "situation" inside.

There were officers at every entrance, Mr Kazmierczak said, and a Swat truck blocking cars coming from the highway.

For the most part, the situation seemed to be under control, he said, although the sidewalk outside of the terminal got "a little crazy" as people milled about.

"Lots of people and no answers," he said.

Around 9.30am, LaGuardia Airport announced that the terminal had resumed normal operations.

Traffic delays continued around the airport for at least another hour, with the city bus system on Twitter notifying passengers of delays.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2017, with the headline 'NY airport terminal partially evacuated after bomb threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe