SAN ANTONIO -- Bomb-sniffing dogs scoured the San Antonio International Airport Wednesday afternoon following an anonymous call about three possible bomb threats. About 2,000 people were evacuated from both terminals, and planes ready for departure were parked outside the terminals for hours.
San Antonio Police Chief McManus told reporters the incident began with an anonymous call-in threat to the airport. The caller reportedly told airport officials of 3 vehicles with explosive devices in the lower level of the airport's short-term parking garage.
SAPD officials arrived on scene with bomb-sniffing dogs to investigate the threat. McManus said the dogs reacted as though explosives were indeed present.
We checked the area of the parking lot that he specified would have the cars with the explosives in them. We got three hits on three cars, he told reporters. So both terminals were evacuated.
It was a somewhat chaotic scene as people evacuated the site in the heat of the afternoon. Fire Chief Charles N. Hood said temps registered at about 118 degrees on the tarmac. Crews cleared Terminal B first and the evacuees were moved to the shelter of that location while the investigation continued.
Southwest Airlines passenger James Warner described the scene.
Inside Terminal A was a zoo, as you can imagine, Warner said by phone. They were bringing all of the flights that had been stranded on the runway for up to two hours and allowing passengers to get off the plane. San Antonio passengers were being allowed to leave the terminal building. Those of us who were continuing on were not allowed to leave through security.
San Antonio police blocked off all access into and out of the airport - rerouting traffic away from the scene while bomb squads swept the area.
Though planes continued to land, passengers were not allowed to disembark until both terminals were cleared at around 5 p.m.
The FBI is calling the incident a non-specific threat : Agents do not believe the threat was politically motivated, nor do they believe it was terrorist-related.
It has been estimated that about 28 flights were delayed. Three flights were canceled, all of those from Dallas.
We anticipate probably well into tomorrow morning that we'll have delays and cancellations, said an airport spokesman.