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Hundreds evacuated at Anchorage airport over unfunny bomb joke

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

The main terminal at the Ted Stevens International Airport was shut down for three hours early Sunday morning after a man checking in for an Alaska Airlines flight made reference to a bomb in a bag, the Associated Press reports.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday morning, officials locked down the terminal over a “security breach,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. Hundreds of passengers were evacuated from the terminal just after 12 a.m., many of whom were in summer clothes, having just arrived from warmer climes.

During the evacuation, the nature of the security breach was not explained to passengers. Airport manager John Parott told the ADN that the FBI interviewed the man and determined the threat was “non-credible," essentially a bad joke.

Airport shuttle buses started hauling passengers to the North Terminal around 1 a.m., but only a dozen seats were available per shuttle. The rental car center was opened to passengers looking to warm up, and rental car buses were also used to shuttle stranded passengers to the North Terminal.

The evacuation caused some congestion at International Airport Road and Spenard Road intersection, as a police roadblock in place prevented people from going to the terminal arrivals. At the airport, planes scheduled to take off around 1 a.m. departed late.

The airport terminal reopened around 3 a.m.

The man is expected to face state and possibly federal charges, according to the AP.

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