Jacksonville airport evacuated after suspicious packages found in terminal
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities arrested a suspect after finding two suspicious packages - including one they described as destructive - at the Jacksonville International Airport.
Zeljko Causevic, 39, was booked into the Jacksonville County Jail early Wednesday and was being held without bond on charges that include making a false report about planting a bomb or explosive and manufacturing, possessing, selling or delivering a hoax bomb, according to airport spokesman Michael Stewart. He was scheduled to appear in bond court in Jacksonville at 1 p.m.
The airport was shut down for nearly five hours and all passengers were ordered to leave the terminals around 6 p.m. Tuesday. One of the packages was found in the terminal and another was in a parking garage. The airport reopened just before 11 p.m.
Stewart said another suspect was arrested Tuesday and questioned by authorities. That suspect, whose name hasn't been released, was not believed to be connected to the airport shutdown, he said.
The airport was back to normal operation Wednesday morning.
During a late-night news conference, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said one of the packages "had some destructive nature" and was taken offsite. He did not elaborate.
Passengers and people who arrived at the airport to pick them up were stranded for hours as officials investigated.
Authorities said some incoming planes were held up on the tarmac until buses arrived to pick up passengers. The passengers were shuttled to nearby hotels.
With the airport reopening late Tuesday, Stewart said individual airlines would determine how to restart their operations. "The airlines will work to ensure all passengers will receive their luggage," the airport posted on its official Twitter account.
Arlie Gentry was on a Southwest flight arriving from New York via Baltimore just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"We moved from one spot on the runway to another spot," said Gentry, who was reached on his cellphone while still on the plane. "They told us we couldn't get off the plane."
Gentry said the pilots initially told passengers they didn't know what was going on.
While the delay was cumbersome and bothersome, Gentry said everyone on his plane remained calm. He said he was never really concerned for his safety, because the plane remained so far from the terminal.
Around 9:30 p.m., a bus arrived to take the passengers on Gentry's flight to a nearby hotel.
He said his sisters had been waiting in the parking lot for several hours and were planning to take him back to Gainesville.