Florida shooting: Thousands stranded at airport

Passengers kept on lockdown for six hours

Updated: 

Thousands of terrified passengers were stranded at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida following a mass shooting which saw five people killed and eight wounded on Friday.

Travellers were kept on lockdown for more than six hours, many stuck on plane or in their cars waiting to hear from their loved ones.

Constance McIntyre, 53, who hid in a bathroom cubicle during reports of a second shooting, told the Inquirer: "People were extremely emotional, crying, horrified.

"I didn't even know if it was a safe place. You feel so vulnerable there. It was stressful and terrifying."

WSVN reported that at 2pm, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for all flights.

Six hours after the shooting at 7pm, travellers were allowed to return to their vehicles after the car parks were cleared of potential threats.

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood Airport officials said they hoped to reopen the airport on Saturday at 5am but Terminal 2 could remain closed through the weekend.

One passenger who flew from Ohio to Florida told WSVN: "It was crazy. It was stressful. There was a lot of running and pushing.

"We escaped out the back of the airport, under the fence, and there were cops and guns everywhere. I got into Terminal 1, and then the alarm went off, and there was massive panic. They shuttled everybody off under the runway."

The suspected gunman was later identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran.