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July 24, 2006
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Flights delayed after security breach at California airport

Associated Press Writer

SANTA ANA, California- Both terminals at an airport in suburban Los Angeles airport were temporarily evacuated and passengers were taken off airplanes after a female passenger made it past a security checkpoint without being screened, authorities said.

Hundreds of travelers - even those aboard airplanes - were required to undergo a second security check Sunday evening at John Wayne Airport, said Nico Melendez of the Transportation Security Administration.

Six outgoing flights were delayed as passengers were re-screened and put back on the planes, Melendez said. Authorities did not provide details Sunday night about who slipped past security or how she managed to do so.

An alarm sounded shortly after 5:30 p.m. and Orange County Sheriff's deputies and airport security began evacuating the terminals. Lines snaked out the doors as travelers lined up again in front of checkpoints.

Passengers erupted in cheers when the checkpoints reopened for screening about two hours later, said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Hayward Miller. Many passengers missed their flights and were forced to rebook on later flights.

The airport, 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Los Angeles, served more than 9.6 million passengers last year and hosts flights from Southwest, Delta, United and American, among others.


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