Fort Lauderdale Airport was shut down and evacuated early on Thursday morning as authorities investigated ‘suspicious wires’ found in a vehicle. The airport was closed for over five hours, with all flights scheduled to depart before 8 AM delayed or canceled.
A suspicious vehicle in a parking garage
The flight chaos at Fort Lauderdale came about after a vehicle with suspicious wires, parked in a garage between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, was reported to law enforcement. The Broward Sheriff’s Office claimed it had “received information regarding suspicious wires found in a vehicle parked on the upper level of the airport” at around 1:10 AM EDT.
JUST IN: Broward Sheriff’s Office says Fort Lauderdale airport shutdown was because of “suspicious wires found in a vehicle”.
— Brooke Shafer (@BrookeShaferTV) April 1, 2021
Law enforcement investigated the bomb threat immediately, locating the suspicious vehicle and closing off the area by 2:00 AM. At 4:30 AM, the airport released a statement saying law enforcement had closed down all roads in and out of Fort Lauderdale Airport. By 7:00 AM, the airport tweeted that all roads were now open and operations were returning to normal.
The airport said in a statement on Twitter,
“Operations at FLL are gradually returning to normal following an earlier security incident outside of Terminals 2 and 3. Travelers are advised to check with their airline for the latest flight status before coming to the airport.”
Flights grounded or canceled
Dozens of flights were delayed due to the incident, with a few flights being canceled altogether. As of 10:30 EDT, many planes set to depart early in the morning are yet to take off. Many planes full of passengers were left waiting on the runway for hours, unable to take off as authorities investigated the bomb threat.
Travelers were left in the lurch as the incident unfolded. According to Coy Combs, a passenger with a flight scheduled for 6:00 AM, “We haven’t heard anything. The way we found out was being driven in different directions by our driver.” A local news outlet, Local10, reported that some passengers were standing at the Perimeter Road entrance, with luggage in hand, waiting to get onto airport grounds.
Fort Lauderdale mask incident
This is the second high-profile incident at Fort Lauderdale Airport in as many weeks after a brawl broke out over an argument about masks. After three passengers refused to don masks and were denied boarding for American Airlines flight 2558, they were met with boos and taunts by other passengers at the airport.
Soon after, a scuffle broke out and fists were thrown as one of the passengers fought with a bystander. A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy immediately intervened and separated the two females. Since January, masks have been mandatory onboard all flights after President Joe Biden signed an executive order, claiming it will be for ‘just a hundred days.’
Were you affected by the Fort Lauderdale bomb scare? Have you ever been through a similar experience at another airport? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.