Apparent suicide at Orlando International Airport causes nearly 100 flight cancellations

TSA employee jumps from fifth-story balcony, police say


ORLANDO, Fla. – A Transportation Security Administration agent is dead after he jumped from a balcony in the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Orlando International Airport, according to officials from the Orlando Police Department.

While officers investigated the apparent suicide, passengers for several airlines found themselves escorted off planes, corralled by police tape and waiting in long lines to be rescreened through security.

As of 2:45 p.m., Southwest Airlines canceled 49 inbound flights and 45 outbound flights. Officials said those numbers could increase.

One man, heading to Louisville, was sitting in the atrium and watched as the TSA employee jumped to his death.

"Heard a horrible crush," he said. "I think when he hit the ground, they thought it was a gunshot. It sounded that loud, and then the crowd started dispersing."

"You could hear the sound," Matthew Pagan, who works at the airport, said. "That's why it sounded something had gone off."

Lines of people wrapped around near the east security checkpoint for much of the day at Terminal A.

"This is our second flight canceled this week," said one woman on her way to Chicago. "Going to Chicago and it was canceled because of cold weather, and now we're going to get canceled again."

Ryan Lane was sitting on a plane on his way to New Orleans for his grandfather's funeral when he and other passengers were told they would need to get off the plane and go through airport screening for a second time.

"Took us another hour to get outside of security and outside the airport and see this massive crowd of people," he explained. "Trying to decide what I'm going to do. Had to tell my grandmother that I'm not going to make it to his funeral."

About the Author: