HIA: Too early to say what security impacts will stem from Fort Lauderdale airport shooting
LOWER SWATARA TWP. ,Pa. – The normal excitement of getting to your destination was muted at Harrisburg International Airport, as travelers were learning more about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport.
“Yeah, it kind of ruined my day when I heard about it, scared me a little bit because I was at an airport too,” Alejandro Castro, who travelled to HIA from San Francisco Friday, said.
It hit close to home for Hayley Pogue, a student who flew into HIA from winter break Friday afternoon.
“My step-dad texted me about it because my step-brother was supposed to be in Fort Lauderdale to take a flight with his team and they had to cancel the flight,” Pogue, a goalkeeper for Bucknell University’s water polo team, added.
Pogue’s step-brother is on the Ohio State swim team, which had to deal with an active shooter situation on its campus in November.
The team did not make it to the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday because of what happened. Other swim teams, including the one at Elizabethtown College, were impacted by the shooting.
“He’s doing fine,” she said. “They just have to re-schedule the flight and they have to kind of figure out the hotel situation for their entire team.”
Airport officials say it can be a challenge to protect the airport because of the multiple points of entry and since it is a public building.
They take part in frequent active shooter drills and the airport police department is on-site to ensure the safety of passengers and others on airport grounds, according to airport executive director Tim Edwards.
However, officials say it’s premature to say what kind of impact the shooting in Fort Lauderdale would have on HIA.
“This is something that we’re constantly preparing for and evaluating our security position, our security status here at HIA,” Edwards said.
Some travelers like Castro, who is originally from Venezuela, say they will do their best to not let this affect them.
“It’s definitely something to look out for, but it’s not going to stop me from flying,” he said.
Others are taking additional precautions.
“On my phone, I always share my location with my mom or my dad just so they know where I am at all times,” Pogue said. “If it’s not a shooter, it’ll be something else. It’s kind of scary the world that we live in today.”