Two major city airports in Australia were evacuated on the morning of October 11, 2022 due to separate security incidents.
Thousands of Qantas passengers at Melbourne Airport (MEL) were ordered to evacuate and faced re-screening after a passenger accidentally exited a sterile area of the airport.
A Qantas spokesperson told local news outlet PerthNow that the passenger flew from Perth to Melbourne for a connecting flight to Sydney.
Upon arriving in Melbourne, the passenger exited the sterile area of the terminal and proceeded to the baggage carousel, instead of heading straight to his connecting flight to Sydney. When the passenger realized that he didn’t need to collect baggage, he walked back through the one-way security doors the wrong way.
This triggered an alarm and for the security doors to briefly lock.
#melbourneairport isn’t the place to be this morning. pic.twitter.com/63X2yRpmQ3— Dennis (@DennisCricket_) October 10, 2022
“As a precaution, all Qantas operations have been put on hold and passengers in the terminal are being re-screened, which is causing delays to some services this morning,” the Qantas spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added: “Safety is our number one priority but we know this disruption is causing some inconvenience for our passengers and we apologize for that. We are investigating how this incident occurred.”
Shortly after the Melbourne Airport incident, a separate security breach occurred over 700 kilometers away in Adelaide Airport (ADL).
Adelaide Airport issued a statement via a Facebook post stating that it is investigating a security breach believed to be “linked to the failure of a piece of security equipment”.
In a Twitter post, state political reporter Ollie Haig revealed that Adelaide Airport’s CEO said 2,000 passengers were caught up in the evacuation after a walk through security detector failed.
Adelaide Airport’s CEO says 2000 passengers were caught up in this morning’s chaos. A walk through security detector failed so 10 people went through unscreened. A “handful” of those passengers couldn’t be located sparking the evacuation. @9NewsAdel pic.twitter.com/YqCEBTKK9O— Ollie Haig (@ollie_haig) October 11, 2022
Some passengers shared photographs of long queues during the evacuation process on social media.
Evacuation at Adelaide airport @MatthewPantelis pic.twitter.com/yj0RgubPAf— Jo De Silva (@Jo_DeSilva) October 10, 2022
Organised chaos. Agree its weird just after the Melbourne incident. Is it part of countrywide testing perhaps??— Dewald Behrens (@dcbehrens) October 10, 2022
“An orderly evacuation of the terminal has been undertaken and rescreening of passengers has commenced,” an Adelaide Airport spokesperson told news.com.au
“There are likely to be some flight delays as a result, and passengers are asked to check with their carrier for up to the minute flight information,” the spokesperson said.