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Wed, Jun 27, 2012

Unplugged Metal Detector Causes Evacuation At JFK

Hundreds Of Passengers Had To Be Rescreened

A simple oversight on the part of a Transportation Security Administration agent forced the evacuation of a terminal at JFK International Airport, causing hours of delays and forcing hundreds of passengers to be rescreened for security. The chaos was caused by screener Alija Abdul Majed, who had manned Lane No. 1 during the Saturday morning, June 23, shift with no idea his metal detector was not plugged in and thus, not working. The New York Post reports that it never occurred to Majed that something was wrong when the alert lights on the detector never flashed even once as hundreds of passengers flowed through the screening station. Police Kajed had no idea how long the machine had been unplugged.


Once the error was discovered, about 9:44 a.m., the Port Authority was left with no alternative but to call for a complete evacuation of the Terminal 7, the international terminal that is home to British Airways, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and others. Beyond the evacuation, two jumbo jets, including a United flight bound for San Francisco, were forced to return to the gate so passengers could be rescreened by a functioning detector.

“The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence,” a law-enforcement source said. “How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”

Officials reopened the terminal at ll:45 a.m., some two hours after they discovered the problem but not before furious passengers turned to Twitter and other social media to express their frustrations. “How many hours will it take to send a terminal full of people BACK through security?” tweeted one passenger off to Los Angeles.

Even with the extraordinary measures taken, officials said they could not be sure that every passenger who had passed through the inoperable scanner had been accounted for.

“The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence,” a law-enforcement source said.
“How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”

Officials reopened the terminal at ll:45 a.m., some two hours after they discovered the problem but not before furious passengers turned to Twitter and other social media to express their frustrations. “How many hours will it take to send a terminal full of people BACK through security?” tweeted one passenger off to Los Angeles.

Even with the extraordinary measures taken, officials said they could not be sure that every passenger who had passed through the inoperable scanner had been accounted for.

FMI: www.TSA.gov

 


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