Melbourne Airport evacuated: Qantas reveals what sparked security breach

Qantas has revealed how the security breach, which caused widespread chaos for travellers at Melbourne airport, unfolded.

Thousands of Qantas passengers were ordered off flights and back inside the terminal to be rescreened shortly before 6.30am on Tuesday.

According to a Qantas spokesman, the breach was caused by a passenger who travelled from Perth to Melbourne for a connecting flight to Sydney.

However, instead of proceeding directly to his connecting flight once he arrived in Melbourne, he left the sterile area of the terminal and made his way towards the baggage carousel.

He was in the baggage area for less than a minute before he walked back through the one-way security doors the wrong way, presumably because he realised he didn’t need to collect his bag.

An alarm was triggered and the doors briefly locked; however, the customer was able to return to the sterile area.

Qantas said it was looking into why the doors didn’t lock as they were meant to, but the initial view is that the number of people also leaving the sterile area stopped the doors from locking.

Security guards were notified and the incident was reported within a few minutes.

Security was unable to locate the customer through CCTV footage and a decision was made to clear the airport and rescreen all passengers.

The passenger was subsequently found and interviewed by the AFP, which will not be laying charges.

Passenger Tim Joyce had already boarded a packed plane when the aircrew informed passengers that they would need to evacuate the terminal and be sent back through security screening.

“It seems quite serious. There are thousands of people waiting,” he told the Today show.

“They’ve pretty much roped everything off. Everything is shut down and everyone has to be rescreened.”

Melbourne was the first of two major airports impacted by security breaches on Tuesday, as Adelaide airport’s main terminal was also affected.

Passengers at Adelaide airport were told to exit the main terminal after a security breach occurred around 9am.

The issue created huge crowds, as hundreds of confused customers were forced to exit the retail and boarding areas.

Some travellers were forced out into the carpark before rescreening began again around 10am.

It is believed the breach was caused by a failing piece of security equipment and delays were anticipated.

“Adelaide airport is currently investigating a security breach at Adelaide Airport that occurred this morning shortly after 9am,” an Adelaide airport spokesman said.

“The breach is believed to be linked to the failure of a piece of security equipment.

A heavy police and security presence was reported at the airport, while people with flights are the only ones being allowed back into the terminal.

Anyone flying in or out of Adelaide on Tuesday has been urged to check with their carrier for the latest information.

Read related topics:MelbourneQantas

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