Olympics celebration may have sparked JFK Airport panic
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Reports of shots fired at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport Sunday night led to evacuations, grounded flights and some frightening moments for fliers before the reports were later determined to be unfounded. And the chaos may have been started by people celebrating an Olympic win.
People ran, others dove for cover in the panic. People were knocking over chairs and partitions in the panic.
Hundreds of people marched through the terminals with their hands over their heads as police tried to sort out the situation. The normally busy terminals turned into ghost towns after police with assault weapons ordered everyone out of the buildings.
"At this time, no firearm, rounds or shell casings or other evidence of shots fired has been found," said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department said hours later.
Police evacuated Terminal 8 around 9:30 p.m. Sunday as a precaution after receiving reports of shots fired near the departures area.
Officers from the New York Police Department were called in to assist with the investigation.
A short time later, police closed Terminal 1 after they said they received additional reports of shots fired in that terminal. The Van Wyck Expressway approaching the airport also was shut down.
Passengers posted pictures and videos on Twitter showing crowds of people gathered outside the terminals.
There are reports that the incident might have been caused by people celebrating Usain Bolt winning his third straight gold medal in the 100-meter race and the banging might have sounded like gunfire to people who were a distance from the TV where people were watching.
According to the flight tracking company, FlightAware, all inbound flights were held at their origin until 11:30 p.m. "due to security." Port Authority police said travelers should contact their carriers and warned of a "substantial PAPD and NYPD presence" at JFK and LaGuardia due to the investigation.
No one was injured during the airport scare.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.