A man reportedly walked through the exit lane at Newark International Airport's Terminal C yesterday, and entered the secure area of the airport without being screened. What followed was an absolute nightmare for travelers, as every single person in the terminal and aboard planes at the gates was evacuated from the terminal. The terminal, which is dominated by Continental, was closed for roughly four hours while officials completed a sweep, and then travelers were re-screened and allowed back to the gates.
The whole ordeal lasted seven hours, and delays lasted well into the morning. Security was unable to locate the man, though video evidence shows he did leave the terminal.
Travelers described the sort of scene normally associated with weather delays: People everywhere, on laptops or napping in a corner. Reports say little information was given to travelers about the delay or how long it would last. Incoming planes were also stranded, with many spending several hours on the tarmac.
Travel in and out of Newark's other terminals was not significantly affected.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is examining how someone was able to walk through the exit lane in the first place. Reports say a passenger noticed the man and alerted officials, suggesting a lack of oversight at the security checkpoint. The TSA confirmed there was a security guard posted in the area of the exit lane and that the officer, "did not react," though it's not clear if the guard saw the man go through.
Readers, does this sounds like an appropriate response, or an overreaction? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
**UPDATE, Jan. 5** Via CNN, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis says, "The TSA is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the incident, and we are making an assessment as to what disciplinary action will be taken against [the] officer posted at the exit in question ... For now, that officer is performing non-screening duties while we look at what happened."