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‘No threat’ determined after ‘absolute chaos’ at Newark Airport; travelers were told to evacuate

Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-02 20:59:24-04

NEWARK, NJ —Investigators determined there was "no threat" at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday night after a scene that was described as "absolute chaos."

Scared travelers ran through the airport outside Terminal A on Monday night after an Alaska Airlines flight attendant told them to evacuate, officials said.

The flight attendant had been talking with two men at Gate 30 around 8:30 p.m., a police official said. They said something that concerned the attendant, who hit an alarm button and told people to evacuate.

One passenger messaged with PIX11, saying "Imagine you’re starting to board and a frazzled flight attendant comes off the plane, stops the process, asks someone to call the police, then starts yelling (with increasing loudness) 'evacuate!'"

"I ran with the crowds, hid under some seats, looked for an exit, headed out to the tarmac," the passenger added. "Sounded like gun shots but after seeing the damage in this terminal, it’s more likely it was glass being shattered from people jumping. Terrifying."

"Police and SWAT on premises and are working on clearing the terminal/area. Everyone near my gate seems to be calming down. Some folks are actually asking when we’re boarding."

About 150-200 people evacuated, officials said.

One person described it as the "most terrifying few minutes of my life."

"Gate attendant yelled 'evacuate' and then the whole terminal ran for any exit possible. All ended up on the tarmac and police have detained one person," Cody Bernstein tweeted.

"Being in terminal A at EWR about to board my flight when a flight attendant starts screaming evacuate," Erin Fors tweeted. "Absolute chaos. Currently standing on an active tarmac. I just want to go home."

David Lombardi described it as an "insane situation."

"They just told us all to evacuate and whole terminal scattered," he tweeted. "Bags left behind. I initially thought it was an active shooter. Maybe a bomb threat. Confusion and chaos."

Some were outside on the runway.

"Shooting scare at Newark Airport. Police arrived in seconds. We are all outside on the runway. Terrified," Cristina Centeno tweeted.

The airport tweeted around 10:30 p.m. that there was no threat and all passengers and employees were being re-screened as a precaution.

The two men who concerned the flight attendant were identified and questioned by the Port Authority Police Department.  They were released and no charges were filed. Police also questioned the flight attendant.