Could Atlanta airport's emergency response have been better?
ATLANTA - When the power went out at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, one passenger said if they had an emergency plan, you couldn’t tell.
Retired FBI agent, Oliver Halle said when he landed Sunday at 12:45 p.m., they spent more than 2 hours on the runway trying to figure out how to attach their plane to a jet bridge. When they finally stepped off the plane, Halle said they stepped into darkness and disorganization.
"There was nobody there to say ‘stop,’ ‘don't go there,’ ‘nobody move,’ nobody,” said Halle.
He said he and his fellow passengers emptied into a pitch dark terminal without any direction. So, they all just followed the mob of people headed towards baggage claim with a little help from cell phone flashlights. The journey started at B Terminal. The group of people had to walk since the trains weren’t running. It wasn’t until they got all the way to A Terminal that Halle said he saw his first “security” person.
"If you could even call him a security person. Let's say, one person with some kind of authority,” said Halle.
Halle said eventually he and the other people made their way to baggage and out through the doors. And 3 1/2 hours and zero people gave the group direction. One nonofficial security guard blocked an entrance and one police officer was standing outside of the building. So, how should they be more prepared?
"Not only an emergency plan, but one that they've actually practiced. I mean you would think that this was not an unforeseeable event. A power outage? That can happen,” said Halle.
Halle said he’s lucky he knew where he was going. People who don’t know the airport we’re just trustfully rolling with the crowd wherever it took them.