Airport evacuated, flights delayed after woman accidentally triggers lockdown

Cairns Airport, in far north Queensland, Australia, was thrown into lockdown after a woman accidentally set off an alarm and forced hundreds of people outside.

Photos taken at the airport showed hundreds of people standing out the front of the normally busy terminal.

Cairns Airport tweeted that everyone had been cleared out due to a “suspected security breach”.

A spokeswoman for Cairns Airport told reporters a woman accidentally activated an alarm at about 12:30pm after she went back through an exit.

“We have spoken to the lady and it is believed she forgot something and left the plane to run back to get it,” she said.

“She thought because she had been screened it was all OK. She is very apologetic, but we had to do a full evacuation.”

Passengers at the airport told there were “federal police everywhere” as the airport was evacuated around 12:45pm today.

A spokesman for the Australian Federal Police told there was never any threat to public safety.

“The Australian Federal Police (AFP) responded to an incident at Cairns Airport after a woman briefly entered a restricted area,” he said.

“Inquiries into this matter remain ongoing and no charges have been laid at this stage.”

Everyone who has been evacuated was told they would need to pass through security a second time and several flights were delayed.

Airport and retail staff inside the terminal were also evacuated during the breach.

Passengers had begun to re-enter the airport after standing outside the domestic terminal for an hour.

A spokesman for Jetstar said its next flight into Cairns Airport was due to land on time at 2:55pm and there are no outbound flights waiting to leave.

He said there are currently no operational issues with Jetstar.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman told three of their flights had been delayed by a little over an hour due to the rescreening process.

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