Albuquerque airport briefly shuts down

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A security breach at Albuquerque International Airport on Wednesday caused a brief evacuation, forcing the rescreening of passengers and delays in outgoing flights.

A person who was behind a law enforcement officer and the officer's National Guard escort went through a security checkpoint without being screened, the Transportation Security Administration in Oklahoma City said.

Two concourses were shut down about 8:15 a.m., and passengers herded outside the facility. People already boarded on some planes also were affected, if the jetway doors to their planes had not yet been closed, airport spokeswoman Maggie Santiago said.

Santiago said screening areas reopened within about 10 minutes of the evacuation, and passengers were rechecked in the order of their flight times.

"It's taking all the fun out of travel," said Norma Shirley, 83, who was traveling to Atlanta with her sister. "We're not going to travel anymore," she added.

The breach delayed flights out of Albuquerque for hours and backed up lines at checkpoints.

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