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Security Breach Slows O.C. Airport

A woman gets through unscreened, so hundreds of passengers are recalled.

July 24, 2006|From the Associated Press

John Wayne Airport terminals were evacuated Sunday evening and passengers were herded off airplanes after a passenger passed a security checkpoint without being screened, authorities said.

Hundreds of travelers, including those who had already boarded, had to undergo a second security check, said Nico Melendez, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

Six outgoing flights were delayed as passengers were rescreened and reboarded, Melendez said. Authorities did not provide details about the woman who slipped past security or how she managed to do so.

An alarm sounded shortly after 5:30 p.m. and Orange County sheriff's deputies and airport security began evacuating the terminals. Lines snaked out the doors as travelers lined up again in front of checkpoints.

Passengers erupted in cheers when the checkpoints reopened for screening at 7:20 p.m., said sheriff's Lt. Hayward Miller.

Robin Lavengood, 43, of Mission Viejo had just walked in the door of the airport when the evacuation began and said to himself, "Something bad is going on here."

He had a 7 p.m. flight to Portland. "I don't think it's gonna happen now," he said, eyeing the throng.

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