SAN ANTONIO -- A bomb threat forced evacuations at the San Antonio International Airport Wednesday afternoon.
Airport spokesman Rich Johnson said airport officials received "multiple" phone calls about non-specific threats in the terminal and specific threats in the parking garage. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the caller said there were three explosives in vehicles in the short-term parking garage. Johnson said the calls got "more specific and more serious" in nature, forcing them to shut down the airport and evacuate around 2:30 p.m.
Chief McManus said bomb-sniffing dogs had "hits" for possible explosives on three vehicles in the lower level of the short-term parking garage. Bomb techs suited up and checked and cleared all three of the vehicles. No explosives were found in the terminals or anywhere on the airport property Wednesday afternoon.
About 1,000 people were evacuated from the airport. Chief McManus said at first people were evacuated outside and then brought back in to Terminal B in the area before the security checkpoint. People were kept on the airplanes on the tarmac and not allowed to deplane for several hours. Finally, after the terminals were cleared, people were allowed off the planes but not allowed to leave the building.
Families and friends waited for their loved ones in the cell phone waiting lot for hours. Some travelers evacuating the airport walked all the way to the lot in the sweltering heat. VIA buses were brought in to keep people cool.
Police gave the airport the "all clear" just before 5:00 p.m. Traffic quickly backed up going in and out of the airport and flights were delayed for several hours. Johnson encouraged people to be patient and check with their airlines before coming to the airport.