Operations Resume At LAX After Night Of Chaos
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Operations at Los Angeles International Airport returned to normal on Saturday morning, a day after pandemonium erupted following a loud car crash and a concurrent anonymous call of a person with a gun.
Both incidents prompted a massive security response in both Terminal 4 and Terminal 5, with police searching the passenger gates with guns drawn on Friday evening.
The situation unfolded shortly after 7:30 p.m. after witnesses say a minivan may have clipped a car and a pedestrian before hitting the lower-level of the airport parking structure.
“A driver had a medical emergency which caused her to lose control of the vehicle and she caused several small traffic collisions,” said LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon.
The noise of the crash, however, caused panic among passengers who mistook it for the sound of gunfire.
Video shot by passengers showed heavily armed police canvassing the terminal while passengers dropped to the floor and ducked for cover. Passengers arriving at the airport were only told that there was a “situation.”
The incidents also caused traffic to come to a standstill in and around the airport, with some travelers walking and running to catch flights.
Officers eventually cleared both terminals of any suspicion.
“What occurred here was a hypersensitivity to what occurred on the first that caused people react in the way that they did,” Gannon said. “I don’t have a problem with that … there’s consequences to it.”
More than 4,000 passengers had to be re-screened with LAX operating at limited capacity for more than two hours.