Sliding doors drama for 1500 passengers
A FEMALE passenger who sparked an evacuation of Cairns Airport could still face charges.
The woman, who returned to the check-in hall after being screened via an exit corridor, delayed the travel plans of about 1500 passengers yesterday afternoon.
Cairns Airport operations manager Kate McCreery-Carr said an alarm was activated at about 12.30pm after the woman went the wrong way through an exit.
She said the woman was "absolutely mortified" at the chaos her actions caused.
"They had been screened, forgot something back in the check-in hall, returned to the check-in hall via an exit corridor and felt they could go back through that corridor," Ms McCreery-Carr said.
"As soon as they passed through that there was a pass-back alarm which went off and alerted us.
"We're going through a process with her right now but definitely at face value it looks like it was a genuine mistake.
"Some planes were disembarked because they were in the vicinity of the woman when she went back into the lounge."
Within minutes the woman was identified and interviewed by Australian Federal Police and the airport's security staff.
An Australian Federal Police spokesman said "at no stage was there a threat to public safety".
"Inquiries into this matter remain ongoing and no charges have been laid at this stage," he said.
Passengers were stranded outside the domestic terminal for about 45 minutes, forming a queue from the departures entrance to the arrivals door.
Some five flights were disrupted and passengers began reboarding around 2pm.
An airport spokeswoman said there were no ongoing delays as a result of the scare.
The passenger was allowed back onto their flight.
Daniel Bolton and his family were returning home to Melbourne after a week in Cairns when they were ordered outside.
"We were meant to take off at 1pm," he said. "It is what it is. What can you do? If it is a serious thing. I'm glad they're doing something about it."