A busy terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport was evacuated after a man opened a restricted door and set off an alarm, authorities said, making it the second known security breach at a New York-area airport this month.
The breach delayed dozens of flights and caused headaches for hundreds of travelers who had to exit the terminal and wait for hours as police swept through the building. The passengers at JFK were then shepherded through additional screening.
The man, Jules Paul Bouloute, is of Haitian descent but lives in Brooklyn, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport. He was arrested on a charge of criminal trespass.
Bouloute was in Haiti during Tuesday's earthquake but took a flight on Saturday from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to Orlando, Fla., where he caught a connecting flight to New York City, Coleman said.
It wasn't immediately clear where Bouloute was when the earthquake struck, and it's unclear how or when he got from Haiti to the Dominican Republic, Coleman said.
Bouloute's phone number was unlisted. He was expected to be arraigned Sunday in Queens, Coleman said. Port Authority police were questioning him Saturday night.
Authorities earlier said the security breach was caused by a passenger who was exiting Kennedy's Terminal 8 and opened a doorthat was supposed to be used only by airport workers.The TSA released the following statement after the breach:
“At approximately 3:30 pm EST at John F. Kennedy International Airport, an individual entered the sterile area in Terminal 8 through a non-public, employee door used by airlines. TSA is working closely with the Port Authority to find the individual. The terminal is being evacuated in order to rescreen all passengers to ensure the safety of the traveling public."
A similar security breach caused mass chaos at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this month when a 28-year-old Rutgers University graduate student slipped into the gated area to be with his girlfriend. A guard who left his post was suspended as a result of the incident and Haisong Jiang was arrested and charged with trespassing. He is due back in court later this month.
Hundreds of travelers were evacuated from the international terminal, Terminal C, and stranded for hours as police investigated. The security breach, which was caught on surveillance video, led to widespread calls for reform from politicians and industry advocates.