Witnesses described scenes of panic and “total chaos” as frightened travellers scrambled to flee Terminal C. Photos of the scene show some people standing barefoot outside the airport after they left their shoes behind. The evacuation was carried out in response to a “security concern” at about 10.30am local time. One man tweeted: “Terminal C evacuated just as I was about to head through TSA.
“People screaming, running, falling down steps….some people were mid check-in and are barefoot outside. 100% total chaos.”
Another wrote: “I started sprinting, dropped my bags at pickup 3”.
A third added: “Everyone started running in Newark airport, son I ran so fast!”
Another man said he was on board a plane parked on a runway at Newark when the pilot made a worrying announcement.
He explained: “We are on the airplane, captain just announced there is a security emergency in the airport and we are closing the door for security.”
Another man said his plane had been grounded while the incident was being dealt with.
He said: “We’re on the runway waiting to leave. Engines been off for a while because passengers who evacuated from Terminal C were on the runway behind our plane.”
Footage shows police cars on a runway with crowds of passengers standing nearby.
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The airport’s message read: “Newark Airport experienced an unexpected evacuation of the terminal this morning due to a security concern.
“The security issue has been resolved and we are awaiting the all clear from local authorities to resume operations.”
The incident happened on what is a very busy day for travel in the United States.
Many Americans had celebrated the July 4 weekend with family and friends and will be travelling home today.
NBC New York reported that a person had been arrested and taken into custody following a “security breach” at the airport.
The Port Authority Police Department reportedly said a passenger had exited Terminal C through a security door, prompting staff to follow emergency procedures.
Later reports suggested the incident had been resolved.
Passengers had to be rescreened by security officials after being allowed back into Terminal C.
Americans flocked to public places over the weekend to celebrate Independence Day as they attempted to get back to living life after more than a year of the Covid pandemic.
The White House has encouraged communities to come together and watch fireworks displays to mark the country’s “independence” from the virus.
As restrictions are lifted across the country, businesses and restaurants are reopening.
President Joe Biden celebrated the holiday by hosting 1,000 essential workers and military families on the South Lawn of the White House.