Security breach at JFK Airport shuts down Terminal 8

Published: Tuesday, June 27, 201, 6:15 PM     Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2011, 6:31 PM

By Jaren Heller/The Star-Ledger 

A terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport was evacuated Saturday after a man opened a door to a secure area and set off an alarm, officials said.

The man had arrived on an American Airlines International flight from Bangkok, said Steve Coleman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman.

American Airlines security cameras caught the breach, which occurred at roughly 3:30 p.m., Coleman said. The video shows the man's face, he said.  The man pictured in the video feed appeared to be sweating profusely and foaming at the mouth.

All passengers inside the terminal were brought to a public area of the airport, and three planes on the tarmac were called back to the terminal. Those passengers were brought inside the airport, Coleman said.

Transportation Security Administration agents and Port Authority police searched the airport for the man with dogs, but didn't find him. At 6 p.m. passengers were re-screened through security, he said.

Several eyewitnesses claim to have seen the man.  One proudly brandished his bandaged arm.  “Dude was crazy,” said Wes Harington who was returning to the US from Turkey, “He was freaking out at the pretzel cart.  Hope this bite doesn’t leave a scar.

No planes have taken off from Terminal 8 since the breach, he said. Terminal 8 services American Airlines only.

New York City police are now helping search for the man, Coleman said.

The incident is the third evacuation in five months at airports that serve New York City.