Flights Delayed, Passengers Stranded at LAX After Deadly Shooting
Thousands of passengers were stranded at Los Angeles International Airport Friday after a shooting that left a TSA agent dead and several other people injured, authorities said.
Several roads around the airport were closed and the Federal Aviation Authority issued what it called a “ground stop,” which prevented flights that had not yet left their airports of origin from arriving at LAX for several hours. The ground stop was ended at 4 p.m.
“The situation at LAX is very fluid,” the FAA said in a statement.
A gunman pulled an assault rifle from a bag on the lower level of Terminal 3 and opened fire at 9:20 a.m., setting off a massive police response.
Sky5 captured live video of passengers running from the airport.
An estimated 76,000 passengers were affected by canceled, delayed and diverted flights, according to LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
Between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., 268 scheduled arrivals with some 20,000 passengers were affected, Castles said in a statement. Most of those were held at their originating airports, with LAX-bound 46 arrivals diverted to other destinations.
For departures, 478 flights were affected by the shooting, including more than 51,000 estimated passengers.
“ALL departure flights from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are delayed until further notice,” LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles said in a statement.
“Some airlines at TBIT, Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 have temporarily suspended departing flights because their passengers cannot reach their terminals,” Castles said.
Roads leading into LAX were closed and passengers were advised to check with their individual airlines for flight information.
“All exits to @LAX_Official from the 105 and 405 freeways are now closed or in the process of closing. Avoid area,” the California Highway Patrol Southern Division tweeted.
Century Boulevard and several other roads leading into the airport were also closed.
“All airport roadways are still closed until further notice. In the meantime, all motorists are advised to not drive to the terminal area,” LAX tweeted on its official account just before 2 p.m.
Roads and terminals were beginning to reopen by late afternoon.
To assist stranded passengers, the American Red Cross announced it was opening a shelter near the airport at the Westchester Recreation Center, located at 7000 West Manchester Avenue in Los Angeles.
Passengers stranded at LAX may contact a hotel accommodations hotline established by LA Tourism & Convention Board at 888-831-7176.
Passengers who need medicine from luggage lost after the shooting were told to contact LAX’s on-airport medical clinic, Reliant Medical Clinic at 9601 South Sepulveda Blvd., or 310-215-6020.
The airport urged travelers to check @LAX_Official on Twitter for information on airport conditions.
Just before 4 p.m. the airport sent out an alert to the media letting drivers know where they could pick up stranded passengers.
“Motorists meeting and picking up passengers are directed to LAX Economy Parking Lot C. Passengers will be transported by bus to Lot C within two hours,” the statement said.
The airport also announced anyone needing hotel accommodations should contact the LA Tourism & Convention Board hotline at 888-831-7176.
During a news conference late Friday afternoon, the FBI said Terminal 3 would remained closed until further notice.
Allegiant Air, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Virgin America and Virgin Australia are all located in Terminal 3, according the Los Angeles World Airports website.
Virgin America wrote on Twitter that it planned to wave cancellation and change fees for those affected.