People cheering and shouting as Usain Bolt ran to victory at the Rio Olympic Games may have been mistaken for gunfire and inadvertently led to JFK airport in New York being evacuated, according to one official.
Terminal 8 was evacuated as a precaution after an initial call reporting “gunshots” around 9.30pm – about the same time Bolt steamed ahead of his rivals to win a record third 100m title at Rio.
There were additional reports of gunshots heard in Terminal 1, which was also cleared of travellers. A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that “cheering, clapping and banging” from people watching the Olympic Games may have been misinterpreted as a fight and gunshots. A search was carried out but no casings were discovered, no shooter was found and there was no one injured.
NYPD special ops said: “All terminals searched & cleared. Negative results. All affected terminals will resume operations shortly. No shots were fired.” No arrests were made. However in the midst of the evacuation, some flights were diverted and others were held on the tarmac.
Travellers are still experiencing delays and there is still a significant police presence at the airport.
John F Kennedy airport is the busiest in the United States, with more than 50 million passengers passing through its building every year. Meanwhile, the location of Terminal 8 on Google has been changed to read “Jamaica”.