False reports of a shooting at Las Vegas airport sparked panic and caused hundreds of flights to be delayed, officials said.
Police said they had taken an “unruly subject” into custody as a spokesperson for Harry Reid International Airport, the Nevada city's main transport hub, confirmed that claims of gunfire had been a false alarm.
"There is no threat at the airport. A loud noise has caused panic this morning, and created a security incident," the spokesperson said on Twitter on Sunday.
"We appreciate the patience of those traveling today as operations are in the process of returning to normal."
Las Vegas police likewise said that "reports of a shooting this morning are unfounded", adding: "The noise is believed to have been caused by an unruly subject. That person is currently in custody."
Video footage showed crowds of people pushing through one of the airport's security area as the person filming says: "Run! Run! Oh my gosh, there's like a shooting or something."
EXPECT DELAYS: Flights will be held as multiple concourses are cleared and all passengers will need to be screened/re-screened at security checkpoints before boarding aircraft. https://t.co/a4crWe87Uj
— Harry Reid International Airport (@LASairport) August 14, 2022
The noise is believed to have been caused by an unruly subject. That person is currently in custody.
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) August 14, 2022
The incident forced delays in some flights as passengers who had fled the area via security checkpoints had to be brought back and checked through properly.
A total of 338 flights were delayed and 53 were cancelled as of Sunday afternoon, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.
However, some travellers criticised the airport's handling of the situation, posting on Twitter that passengers had been left with "zero information" or without any airport employees directing traffic.
Videos posted on the social network showed enormous queues of passengers extending throughout the terminal.
"I’ve seen airports this busy, but not this chaotic, without direction," a traveller called Michelle Shafer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In 2017, Las Vegas was the scene of what remains the deadliest mass shooting by a single individual in American history, in which a man firing down into a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel killed 60 people and wounded at least 413.