Fumes Clear Out Critical Air Traffic Control Tower

By Diana Lehnert
|  Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010  |  Updated 10:09 PM EDT
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Fumes Clear Out Critical Air Traffic Control Tower

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Authorities say the radar facility that handles all arrivals and departures for New York City's three major airports was briefly evacuated after the smell of gas was reported.

Flights were being delayed.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters says the facility in Westbury, Long Island, was evacuated as a precaution at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. Twenty-five traffic controllers remained behind, Peters said

He says other staff members were cleared to return about an hour later. Firefighters and staff were unable to determine the origin of the odor.

But he says the evacuation led to residual delays at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports. Planes outside of New York were told not to take off and all aircrafts already in the air were put into a holding pattern, Peters told NBCNewYork. 

At approximately 7:30 p.m. the Westbury fire department gave the okay, said Peters. It wasn't immediately clear how many flights were affected.

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