23 May, 2024
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Second Australian airport evacuated after security breach


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A second Australian airport terminal has been evacuated after a worrying security breach, following lengthy delays in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.

Just hours later, passengers at Adelaide Airport were also evacuated.

The Adelaide issue was apparently sparked by the failure of a piece of security equipment, meaning everyone in the bustling terminal had to be cleared and re-screened.

“Adelaide Airport is currently investigating a security breach … that occurred this morning, shortly after 9am,” airport management said.

“The breach is believed to be linked to the failure of a piece of security equipment.”

The airport said an “orderly evacuation” of the terminal had followed and thousands of passengers were being rescreened. However, it warned of likely flight delays, and urged travellers to check with their airlines.

The Adelaide security hiccup came just hours after federal police shut down a section of the Melbourne Airport domestic terminal and ordered passengers from a plane ready for take-off.

It came a Qantas passenger allegedly entering security gates without being screened on Tuesday morning. That led to other passengers having to evacuate the area before being re-screened.

The airline apologised to customers.

“A passenger appears to have inadvertently passed from an unscreened area to a screened area of the airport in Melbourne,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

“As a precaution, all Qantas operations have been put on hold and passengers in the terminal are being re-screened, which is causing delays to some services this morning.

“Safety is our No.1 priority but we know this disruption is causing some inconvenience for our passengers and we apologise for that. We are investigating how this incident occurred.”

The spokesperson did now say how the passenger managed to get from one area to another.

In a post on Twitter about 7.30am, Melbourne Airport officials said screening of passengers in T1 had resumed although delays were expected.

One passenger said they were on a flight that was about to depart when the security breach was revealed – and everyone was told to head back into the terminal.

“Qantas keeps sending messages saying, ‘It will be 10 minutes’. But at the moment we are actually in a queue to be rescreened,” Sue Duke told Seven’s Sunrise.

“We’re going to Brisbane and hoping to get a connecting flight to Norfolk Island. We are hoping that Qantas will hold the flight.”

In September, confusion reigned after a passenger inadvertently passed from an unscreened area to a screened one in Sydney ahead of a Melbourne-bound flight.

A plane-load of people were escorted straight to the baggage terminal on arrival to avoid compromising the security of Melbourne Airport upon landing.

-with AAP

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