Three people set off security alert while trying to catch flight at Newark airport
Published: Monday, November 01, 2010, 6:17 PM Updated: Monday, November 01, 2010, 6:21 PM
Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-LedgerHundreds of people wait inside Newark Liberty Airport Terminal C after a security breach, in this January 2010 photo.
NEWARK — Three people running to try to catch their flight set off a security alert today at Newark Liberty International Airport, where tensions were still heightened from the search of a suspicious package three days ago.
Late for their flight to Nashville just after 3 p.m., a man, woman and teenage boy apparently tried to open a jet bridge door at the Terminal C gate area and triggered a door alarm, authorities said.
The trio missed the flight.
However, confusion over whether they were on the plane prompted Continental Airlines to bring the plane back to the jetway, where all passengers were cleared. The flight departed 36 minutes late, at 3:38 p.m., according to the federal Transportation Security Administration.
“A Continental flight to Nashville was asked to return to the gate after an airline employee reported to TSA that three individuals triggered an alarm when they tried to open a jet bridge door,” TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said.
Three checkpoints in Terminal C were closed for 10 minutes.
The three people late for the Nashville flight were cleared by law enforcement in the concourse and had to wait for another flight.
While the shutdown lasted only a matter of minutes, it caused a backup of passengers who clogged the Terminal C concourse surrounding the checkpoint areas. There were even lines of fliers snaking around terminal floors above and below the checkpoint level, with airport personnel blocking the tops and bottoms of escalators leading to the checkpoints.
Passengers waiting to get the checkpoint said they would rather be safe than sorry.
“I’d rather not get blown up in the air, so I’m pretty okay with waiting,” said Scott McGrath, 37, of Toronto, Canada, a life coach visiting the area.
On Friday morning, after two packages containing explosives intended for Chicago synagogues were intercepted on planes in England and Dubai, terror investigations began in three continents and a similar cargo jet was swept for bombs at Newark Airport.
The search in Newark turned up only papers.
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