TSA officer jumps to death at Orlando airport

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 3rd, 2019

Orlando, Florida: An officer from the Transportation Security Administration jumped to his death from a balcony inside Florida’s busiest airport Saturday, creating panic that brought some security checkpoints to a halt for several hours.

Panicked passengers rushed past checkpoints leading to about half of the gates at Orlando International Airport after the man jumped, resulting in the checkpoint closures and delays.

The TSA officer in his 40s died from an apparent suicide, according to the Orlando Police Department, which described it as an isolated incident.

“Our hearts are with the TSA family during this very difficult time,” the department tweeted.

The man jumped from a hotel balcony inside the airport into the atrium where passengers wait to get through security.

The officer was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to the police.

The airport tweeted that passengers who rushed past checkpoints were returned for a second examination out of an abundance of caution. The standstill and rescreening caused delays for passengers who had to wait at least an hour and a half.

The airport warned passengers Saturday afternoon to give themselves plenty of time to get through security.

“We ask that you have patience with airport personnel as they work through this tragic incident,” the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

The affected gates had flights for Delta, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Air Canada, LATAM and Sun Country airlines.

“At no point were passengers in any danger,” airport officials said in a statement.

Those affected by the stoppage included Alaska, Air Canada, Delta and Southwest airlines.

At 9:30 a.m., an individual jumped from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into the atrium area of the airport. A male in his 40s was found in critical condition and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Preliminary information suggests an apparent suicide.

— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) February 2, 2019

By Saturday afternoon, Southwest Airlines had cancelled 49 inbound flights and 45 outbound flights, according to the airport.

“This is a peak travel time on Saturdays and two of our busiest airlines were affected, Southwest and Delta, so a couple of thousand passengers may have been affected,” Carolyn Fennell, the airport’s senior director of public affairs, said in an email.

The TSA officer, in his 40s, died from an apparent suicide, according to the Orlando Police Department, which described it as an isolated incident.

“Our hearts are with the TSA family during this very difficult time,” the department tweeted.

The man jumped from a hotel balcony inside the airport into the atrium where passengers wait to get through security.

The officer was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to the police.

The incident that occurred at the Hyatt hotel impacted the east checkpoint which serves Airsides 2 and 4 (gates 70-129). Passengers were required to be rescreened as a security precaution but the airsides have reopened. 1/2 — Orlando International Airport (@MCO) February 2, 2019

The airport tweeted that passengers who rushed past checkpoints were returned for a second examination out of an abundance of caution. Two airside terminals were closed to passengers during a security sweep, and all flights to and from the affected gates were stopped until security measures were reinstated, according to the airport.

“We ask that you have patience with airport personnel as they work through this tragic incident,” the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., noted in a tweet that the officer’s death comes after TSA employees struggled through a partial government shutdown. Along with other government workers, TSA officers worked without pay during the 35-day shutdown.

“Our @TSA Officers have already suffered so much during the #GovernmentShutdown,” Soto tweeted. “This apparent suicide only adds to tragedy experienced at Orlando Int’l.”

Leave a Reply