April 23, 2019

TSA officer leaps to death at Orlando airport, causing panic at checkpoints

04 February 2019, 03:12 | Joann Bryant

People pack lines at an Orlando airport security checkpoint Saturday after a TSA agent fell to his death

People pack lines at an Orlando airport security checkpoint Saturday after a TSA agent fell to his death

In addition to causing flight and screening delays, the incident resulted in brief panic and chaos for travelers, who did not immediately understand what happened.

A TSA agent has jumped off a hotel balcony inside Orlando International Airport in an apparent suicide.

He was found in critical condition and later pronounced dead at a hospital. Though representatives for the agency first said it had been an on-duty officer, they later clarified that his shift had just ended.

A spokeswoman for the airport said on Saturday that the passengers were returned for a second examination in "an abundance of caution" after some passengers got through the checkpoints without being screened properly. Orlando police said a man in his 40s jumped, in an apparent suicide, from the Hyatt Regency Hotel onto an atrium floor in the main terminal at about 9:30 a.m. ET.

According to the airport officials, the wait for security and flights have been severely delayed.

Police said the incident was isolated and reports "suspicious vehicles" related to this incident were false. At the time of the incident, several passengers scattered into the sterile area unscreened.

General manager at the airport's Hyatt Regency Bruce McDonald told Click Orlando: 'The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is a top priority, ' McDonald said. TSA will be rescreening passengers and will continue to work with the Orlando Police Department and Greater Orlando Aviation Authority to return operations to normal'. Passengers were required to be rescreened as a security precaution but the airsides have reopened.

"This is a peak travel time on Saturdays and two of our busiest airlines were affected, Southwest and Delta, so a couple of thousand passengers may have been affected", Carolyn Fennell, the airport's senior director of public affairs, said in an email.

"I can't believe I didn't say anything to him", Shaw said. At least 45 outbound and 49 inbound flights were cancelled.

According to flight tracking website FlightAware, there were over 90 flight cancellations and 180 delays at the airport, as of 4:40 p.m. on February 2.

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