An Appleton native spent hours stuck on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale airport after a shooting there Friday. Tara Mitchell flew in right after the shooting and was told their plane could not go to the gate.
Mitchell moved to Fort Lauderdale a few years ago from Wisconsin. She was flying home from a business trip Friday afternoon when she found out there was a shooting at the airport.
During her fourth hour of waiting on the American Airlines plane, an announcement came over the public address system.
"There's a lot of people focusing in on this airport. So you are not abandoned by any stretch of the imagination," the announcement said.
"They immediately told us on the loud speaker what was going on and that we couldn't get back into the airport. We couldn't go to the gate," said Mitchell.
Mitchell and her fellow passengers were left sitting at the end of the runaway, following what was going on through social media and looking out their plane windows.
"This is what we see right now. There's several squad cars, they have helicopters in the air," said Mitchell, showing TODAY'S TMJ4 her view through a FaceTime interview.
The public address from the crew updated the passengers.
"The police and everybody is really trying to work on securing the terminals," it said.
After five hours, they finally were able to taxi to the gate. But she says they were warned the ordeal was not over.
"They did tell us there is going to be a single security checkpoint that everybody is going to have to go through individually to be scanned before exiting the airport. Which is going to be a very extensive and lengthy process," said Mitchell.
She got off the plane after nearly six hours of waiting. She walked off to an empty terminal with bags and items left all over. Mitchell said it was worth the wait for everyone's safety.
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