Security scare at airport
A MAN is in custody after a security scare that forced the emergency evacuation of Cairns Airport last night amid reports he had doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself on fire.
Hundreds of passengers were ushered from the terminal via a loudspeaker announcement after reports of an emergency scenario about 5pm.
Journalist Jonathan Holmes was at the airport and told ABC Radio that all passengers were cleared out amid reports someone had threatened to set themselves alight.
“My wife had gone in before me ( and) she said one woman told her she’d seen someone pouring petrol all over themselves and was about to set themselves alight,” he said.
“However, it looks like that didn’t happen.
“There was a strong smell of petrol but no burning.”
Witness Lucy Karger said it had been a “frenzied” scene.
“I don’t know what happened but we were in the departure lounge,” she said.
“I heard a lot of commotion coming from where the security scanners are.
“Then we saw a big mob of people in a frenzied panic running towards us.”
An ambulance spokeswoman confirmed crews were dispatched for a “mental health matter”, but there were no reported injuries.
A statement issued by Australian Federal Police read: “The airport terminal has been evacuated due to the need to clean up flammable liquid that has been spilt.”
Traveller Raynor Bergsma was left waiting for hours for his flight to Perth after being locked out of the terminal.
“I heard some guy poured petrol on himself and everybody ran,” he said.
Reports that threats were made by a man before the incident have not been confirmed.