All departing flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Saturday afternoon were briefly halted owing to an accidental gun discharge in the security screening area.

The airport posted on its official Twitter handle saying that there was no active shooter or any ongoing danger to passengers or employees. The Atlanta Police Department said that as per initial reports three people sustained non-life-threatening injuries after the incident.

The airport officials wrote in the tweet, “Officials have given an all-clear for #ATLAirport and normal operations are beginning”. Further details regarding the incident remain unrevealed.

As per the latest TSA statement the gun discharge occurred during a security check at the airport. At around 1:30 p.m. [ET], a property search TSO at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s (ATL) Main Checkpoint started a bag search owing to a prohibited item identified by the X-Ray. He advised the passenger not to touch the property, and as he opened the compartment containing the prohibited item, the passenger jumped into the bag to grab the firearm, at which point it discharged.  The passenger then ran out of the airport exit.

According to reports, witnesses shared that panic ensued after the gunfire in the airport’s domestic terminal.  The reports suggest that passengers got off planes to wait on the tarmac and around the terminals.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers have detected over 450 firearms at Atlanta airport checkpoints during 2021 as per officials. Around 4,500 guns have been detected at airport checkpoints so far this year.

Upon detection of a firearm at U.S. airports, the TSA assesses a civil penalty that varies by the number of offenses and whether the firearm was loaded. The complete list of penalties is posted on TSA.gov.

Passengers typically may travel with firearms in checked baggage provided they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case.

The incident took place just as what is expected to be the busiest holiday travel season since the pandemic started. The TSA said it anticipates screening nearly 20 million people between Nov. 19 and Nov. 28, almost back to 2019 levels.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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