TSA Agent Falls to Death at Orlando International Airport
Police and airport officials were scrambled to a scene at Orlando International Airport on February 2nd following multiple reports of a loud bang and witnesses stating they saw a person fall from above.
Initial reports were of a uniformed TSA agent that jumped or fell from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into the atrium area above a security screening checkpoint. Following the sound and the chaos in and around the area, hundreds of passengers, airport workers and flight crew rushed into nearby safety, including beyond security checkpoints without being screened.
Many Twitter users captured the chaos following, with some stating they saw the man fall.
Orlando airport suicide.
Le estaban haciendo reanimación pero obviamente ya estaba muerto pic.twitter.com/ANy1elUsK8
— CR (@ricardo_a28) February 2, 2019
Because of the nature of the incident, flights were cancelled and plans were delayed with passengers still waiting to board or stuck onboard wanting to disembark.
There were also reports of suspicious vehicles that fled the airport as well the public describing the sound as if an active shooter was present. The airport and police were quick to establish that these claims were false and the incident was isolated.
Following ongoing initial investigations at the scene, Orlando Police released this statement:
“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 a critical condition and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Preliminary information suggests an apparent suicide.”
In a later statement, the police confirmed the individual was a TSA employee.
The TSA also released a statement:
“The TSA confirms that an off-duty officer fell from a hotel balcony inside Orlando International Airport this morning and is deceased. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family, friends and everyone in our TSA family.”
Carolyn M. Fennell, Senior Director of Public Affairs and Community relations for Orlando International Airport, told the public the airport would remain open, however confirmed the incident occurring above the east checkpoint which services Airsides 2 and 4 which were contained by the airport and police.
Everyone that was drawn into the sterile areas without being screened as well as those that were already screened doubled checked at their respective gates prior to boarding aircraft as a security measure.
Announcements were made with directions from airport staff. Photos circulating social media outlined the confused chaos that was present.
Screening to begin soon at Orlando airport after almost 2hrs pic.twitter.com/KJ2UoZfAqH
— Troy Moritz (@troy_moritz) February 2, 2019
Stuck in Orlando Airport after an apparent hotel balcony jump, supposedly a TSA agent. pic.twitter.com/BSJfRcJN4g
— Kevin Geisler 🍔 (@luthyr) February 2, 2019
A passengers recount of the event:
“I was in my room and I head a loud bang like a shotgun. Panic was in full effect. Screaming, running, I didn’t know where to py myself first. After 15 minutes we were told it wasn’t a shooter it was a TSA agent who jumped off the tenth floor of the hotel right into the middle of the airport terminal. The 15 minutes of thinking there was an active shooter and I couldn’t get to my daughter won’t leave my mind now. Currently the airport is shutdown. What a sad, sad day.”
Information will be updated should additional statements and information be released from the appropriate authorities.