CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Security is tight at airports across the nation including the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. NFTA tells us they’re purposely making security more visible after the fatal shooting in Fort Lauderdale. Many flights to and from Fort Lauderdale are canceled.
A flight from Florida landed at BNIA just before 4p.m.. The passengers on that plane tell us they were sitting on the tarmac, waiting for take off when they saw people running out. Their pilot told them it was probably a fire or someone pulled the alarm. The plane waited about five extra minutes before taking off.
It wasn’t until the plane landed here that passengers learned about the fatal shooting.
“We’re just lucky we got out when we did,” said Doreen Espinosa, traveling back to Lancaster from Ft. Lauderdale.
“It was a shock,” said Wally. “We really didn’t know. We were held up taxiing. We didn’t know what was going on at terminal 2 and we were at terminal 1.”
Several flights leaving Buffalo heading to the Florida airport have been indefinitely delayed. One plane was set to leave around 2p.m. Passengers never boarded the plane.
They were waiting in the terminal when they heard about the fatal shooting, finding out on social media and from watching nearby tvs. At first southwest told them they’d be delayed an hour and then it became two. Southwest finally began suggesting they leave the airport for the night and try rebooking a different flight tomorrow, leaving many people stranded in Buffalo.
“They told us we might as well give up on any chance of going there tonight because it’s basically people running on the Tarmac and they have to collect them,” said Mark Robson from Ft. Lauderdale. “It’s likely were not going today. We’re letting people know not to expect us tonight.”
“You don’t usually happen here in the United States,” said Gary Jood, who is heading to the Florida city to catch a cruise. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
Many people here are talking about the fatal shooting and security, questioning if there’s really enough. NFTA and TSA both tell us they’re fully staffed and being vigilant.
Something to note: as Fort Lauderdale’s airport is closed and on lockdown now, other flights to different destinations are being impacted. One from Buffalo heading to LAX has been canceled as the plane they were scheduled to fly on is still on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale, with passengers onboard, unable to leave.
Everyone we spoke with at the Buffalo airport seems understanding of the situation and says they’re thankful they’re safe.