SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of passengers had to be evacuated from San Diego International Airport for a security issue during bag screening.
The ordeal grounded all flights and stranded passengers for several hours.
After the terminal was cleared, passengers moved quickly back through security to get re-screened after they had to be evacuated.
The incident started when Transportation Security Administration says a passenger’s carry-on had to go through additional screening, but they say the man with that carry-on walked away.
“We saw some of the TSA members. They were searching for a bags. That was the first thing. We were at a restaurant. They were searching for a bag,” passenger Kelsea Roberts said.
A TSA spokesperson says the traveler then walked into the secured area of the airport. That’s when TSA officers began searching the man and decided to clear the entire terminal over the bag screening issue.
“That’s ridiculous,” passenger John Flippen said. “Then they said ‘ok’ they’re evacuating the entire terminal so the people inside, the authorities inside were saying ‘We don’t know anything. We’re just evacuating the entire building,’ so they did say it was a security breach. That somebody had gotten through TSA but that’s all they told us.”
Passengers had to deplane and exit the airport.
“We were already boarded. We had already pushed back, I believe to depart to Chicago. Then we got some information from the pilot saying that the flight was going to be holding for a moment and then that there was a security issue,” passenger David Graham said.
Law enforcement officers and police dogs swept the terminal. Once it was cleared, thousands of passengers were allowed back through security.
But some travelers say they missed their flight and are stranded in San Diego for another day.
“It’s not a good day to celebrate my birthday on and have all of this happening, but I just feel really aggravated that there wasn’t much help,” Roberts said.
Experts advise passengers to check with your airlines and credit card company for possible help with vouchers or reimbursements.
TSA says the bag is not in the secured area of the airport.
They also say that they have not located the man.