Evacuation Flub Spooks LAX

Displays accidentally tell passengers to clear out

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2013 6:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Passengers at LAX were treated to a scare last night, after flight display boards told them to evacuate in response to an emergency. Turns out the message was an accident, airport authorities say. The message appeared at 9:47pm. "After the mistake was discovered, airport staff removed the message from all the monitors by 9:54pm," a spokeswoman tells the Los Angeles Times.

At first, officials thought a hack was to blame, prompting a hurried investigation. But they ultimately realized that an airline contractor had accidentally overridden the flight display system, the spokeswoman says. The contractor was "programming airline check-in information into a set of monitors for a particular flight when he accidentally activated the pre-programmed emergency terminal evacuation message," she explains.

An American Airlines plane takes off at LAX International airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013.
An American Airlines plane takes off at LAX International airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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