A parked car at an Arizona airport caused the police to call in the bomb squad and delay or cancel hundreds of flights.
At most airports, it’s illegal to park your car outside of the terminal. This doesn’t stop it from happening, mind you. Every day, someone somewhere will park their car to go grab some missed luggage, track down a loved one, or even just get a cup of coffee. Usually they’re cited, and at some airports, they’re even towed.
One inconsiderate driver caused the delay of 300 flights at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Last Sunday, police spotted a parked 4-door Nissan rental that was idling curbside at Terminal 4. Initially, they were just going to have it towed at the owner’s expense, but then something caused the police to suspect a bomb threat. Arizona news site AZCentral didn’t have the specifics, but whatever the reason, the bomb squad got called in and caused all manner of havoc for the airport’s scheduling.
It took four hours for the police to determine the idling Nissan was not a threat, but before they did, they closed down all of Terminal 4. This caused 300 flights to be delayed and dozens more to be canceled as no aircraft could taxi into Terminal 4. They even had a bomb-defusing robot on hand to take care of whatever explosive might’ve been found.
Police didn’t notify anyone of the status of the investigation, leaving many to sit around in frustration waiting for their flight to resume. The Skytrain was unable to go to Terminal 4, causing a huge backlog of people at Terminal 3.
As for the driver, he was eventually located by police and detained while they investigated his rental car. And that bomb defuser bot was definitely not gentle. Before police were satisfied that the car was safe, they tore a hole through the hood and front grille, ripping the entire hood almost clear off, and damaged the trunk as well.
In the end, police found nothing, and issues a $52 parking citation. Of course, there’s no telling how much it’ll cost that driver to replace the rental car he wrecked with his negligence, but it hardly seems worth it to inconvenience so many people.