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Olympic Cheers Mistaken for Gunfire at JFK Airport

Disembarking passengers warned authorities of loud sounds and gunfire as many cheered on Olympic Games

Operations are back to normal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) after a set of loud cheers were mistaken for a fight and gunfire by arriving passengers. Britain’s The Telegraph reports several passengers complained to authorities about the loud noises and what appeared to sound like gunfire.

The incident began around 9:30 p.m. local time on Sunday night, around the same time champion sprinter Usain Bolt was to take the field for the 100-meter dash. As Bolt charged for the win, those in JFK Terminal 8 began cheering loudly, which may have been interpreted as fighting and gunfire.

Reports of gunfire prompted Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police to take on a full tactical response. Terminal 8 was evacuated, which was spread to Terminal 1 due to reports of a shooter in that corridor as well.

“We were previously told to get on the floor and take cover behind any and everything we could find,” Demetrius Parker told New York television station WPIX-11. “”When we finally were able to find exits it led to the runway, which is not necessarily the safest place either.”

By 11 p.m. officials were working with the National Guard to return lost children to their parents as soon as possible. Shortly after the incident was secured, the Port Authority sent a statement via Twitter to update flyers on the situation.

Out of an abundance of caution, the terminals were evaluated and flights halted as police and security forces sprung to work. Among the necessities were a sweep of all aircraft coming into the airport as well as passenger rescreening as they went into the airport’s sterile zone.

All operations had returned to normal in the early hours of the morning. Both authorities and airline officials are unsure when the situation was resolved. As a result of the incident, the airline is taking a closer look at their policies to prevent this from happening in the future.

[Photo: CNN]

Comments are Closed.
Mehdron August 17, 2016

First hand account: [url=http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/the-terrifying-jfk-airport-shooting-that-wasnt.html]Scenes From the Terrifying, Already Forgotten JFK Airport Shooting That Wasn’t[/url]

rickg523 August 16, 2016

Jittery people being responded to by official overreaction motivated by fear of being blamed for under reaction eventually leads to a "boy who cried wolf" mentality. "Some people were cheering and it frightened some other people so we closed down the airport," doesn't sound prudent. It sounds embarrassingly ridiculous. Overreaction breeds unpreparedness.

KRSW August 16, 2016

Oh, for crying out loud... How about having an abundance of common sense? 9:30p on a Sunday? No one's going to do a terrorist attack at JFK at that hour -- it's too quiet. Terrorists look for the maximize the potential of their attack, which includes finding the peak times when the building is full of people. Also, people can't tell the difference between cheering and gunfire? I can assure you, from personal experience, the two sound vastly different.

LukeO9 August 15, 2016

A jittery population. Hang on to your outdate Amendment and it will only get worse.