Saturday, March 11, 2006

LaGuardia terminal evacuated; departures halted!

Man disappears after being singled out for security screening

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Delta terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City was evacuated for about two hoursFriday after a man whose shoes provided an initial positive alert for explosives left the screening area, the Transportation Security Administration said.

Authorities gave no indication whether the man had been found.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the man had taken off his shoes for the test, but then put them back on and left about 2:50 p.m. before authorities had finished screening him.

"TSA Security and Port Authority Police are searching for him now," she said at the time. "He's going to have to come out at some point."

Davis said she was not sure why the man had been targeted for what the TSA calls a secondary screening -- which involves security officers passing a metal-detecting wand around a person's body.

The TSA said an electronic trace detection machine returned a positive alert for explosives, but such machines also can give an alert on benign substances.

Authorities said they were stopping all outgoing flights from terminal D until the man is found, and Delta spokesman Anthony Black said takeoffs should resume around 7 p.m. Inbound flights were not affected.

Passengers were allowed back into the terminal at around 5 p.m., and everyone was in the process of being screened again, said TSA spokesman Darin Kayser.


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