SAN DIEGO — Thousands of passengers crowded the arrivals area of San Diego International Airport Thursday afternoon after a security breach led law enforcement to clear out an entire terminal.
Officials made the decision to “clear Terminal 2 West & East” due to a bag screening issue, TSA confirmed.
“At approximately 12:25 p.m. today … a traveler took a carry-on that had been identified for additional screening and walked into the sterile area of the airport,” agency spokesperson Lorie Dankers told FOX 5 by email. “TSA officers began searching for the traveler and were not able to locate him.”
Officers with law enforcement dogs and TSA agents were “conducting a sweep of the terminal,” Dankers said.
“Once that is complete, TSA will begin rescreening all travelers once the terminal is clear of any potential security threats,” she concluded.
An airport spokesperson said passengers who were already sitting on planes waiting to depart had to get off and exit the airport along with people who were inside the terminal. The TSA estimated somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 travelers were affected.
At 2:30 p.m., SkyFOX video showed a large group of people standing in the shade outside the terminal, waiting to be allowed back inside. Video from inside the airport showed even more people waiting around in the ticketing area.
By 3:15 p.m., travelers were slowly working their way back through security.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the security breach was believed to be intentional or an accident.
“TSA will not comment further on the specific nature of the incident,” Dankers said.
In a later tweet, the airport’s official account described the incident as “a passenger (bypassing) the screening process at a TSA checkpoint without having a bag screened.”
As a result, the message said, “the FAA issued a full ground-stop for flights departing from Terminal 2.”