Hundreds of passengers and workers at JFK’s Terminal 7 had to be evacuated on Saturday morning after it was discovered that a TSA worker’s metal detector was unplugged.
The terminal that is home to British Airways, Cathay Pacific and United Airlines was evacuated for two hours and planes were recalled from the runway after the lapse was discovered, according to the Associated Press.
Alija Abdul Majed, a TSA employee who manned Lane No. 1 during the morning shift, had no idea that his metal detector was unplugged, the New York Post first reported. It is unclear when his shift started but the Port Authority was called in around 9:45am, which then called for a complete evacuation of the terminal.
A law enforcement source told The Post, “The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence…How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”
As a result, two jumbo jets were forced to return to their gates so passengers could be rescreened. When reached for comment by The Post, the TSA would neither confirm nor deny the incident, instead saying that a metal detector had experienced a “malfunction.”
The Port Authority reopened the terminal around 11:45am, according to the Associated Press.