Evacuation Flub Spooks LAX
Displays accidentally tell passengers to clear out
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 23, 2013 6:20 AM CDT
An American Airlines plane takes off at LAX International airport in Los Angeles Monday, April 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(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.