False alarm causes panic, fleeing passengers at Newark airport

Westersoe/iStock(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A false alarm caused panicked Labor Day passengers to flee Newark Liberty International Airport in terror on Monday night.

The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. at the New Jersey airport when an Alaska Airlines employee approached two men at Gate 30 in Terminal A and the men fled, causing the employee to hit an alarm, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.

The alarm triggered a panicked evacuation of the terminal, with passengers ditching their luggage and heading for the nearest exits as fast as they could.

The alarm caused about 150 to 200 passengers in the terminal to "self-evacuate" outside Gate 37, the Port Authority said.

"I ran with the crowds, hid under some seats, looked for an exit, headed out to the tarmac," tweeted Erin Fors, one of those who ended up on the tarmac. "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."

Video showed passengers returning to the terminal once calm had prevailed with bags strewn everywhere.

The two men who fled the airline employee were being interviewed and there were no charges or arrests, authorities said.

Passengers had to be rescreened once they were allowed back inside.

The Port Authority said there was no impact to airport operations. An investigation is underway.

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