PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Concourse C at Palm Beach International Airport reopened with an all-clear Tuesday night after an evacuation because a passenger onboard a departing Frontier Airlines flight made a bomb threat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
During three-hour closure of the terminal, seven flights were delayed and several hundred people planning to depart were moved outside the terminal.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said a man aboard the plane made an utterance about an explosive. The man was arrested, and the FBI will follow up with potential charges on the detained passenger, Barbera said.
Frontier Airlines flight 2346 was scheduled to depart at 5:02 p.m. bound for Philadelphia. The flight was delayed until 10:10 a.m. Wednesday.
"The airline is working to secure hotel accommodations this evening for impacted customers," Jennifer de la Cruz, senior director of corporate communications, said in an email to WPTV.
Concourse C was evacuated so the sheriff's office bomb squad and the FBI could check two passenger bags.
A thorough search of the plane and the concourse area was conducted with negative results, Barbera said. Shortly before 8 p.m., all passengers were allowed to re-enter the concourse.
Just after 9 p.m., seven flights were delayed at the airport, including the Frontier flight and another one by the airline scheduled to depart at 8:08 p.m. to Denver.
By about 10:30 p.m., only the Denver flight was listed as delayed besides the one to Philadelphia.
No incoming flights were delayed.
The evacuation of the concourse caused everyone who deplaned to be moved to concourses A or B.
Airlines that depart PBIA from Concourse C include Breeze Airways, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines.
"There was a man on the flight who came on and said that he had cocaine in his bag and that’s why it was so heavy and he just talked and talked and talked," a passenger on the plane told WPTV's Kamrel Eppinger. "He seemed innocuous, but who knows? I did not hear anything about a bomb threat."
Luana Cordeiro also said she was on the plane and noticed the man being escorted off the plane.
"I personally was not scared because that man was on the flight with me. I know that, oh, he probably said something really stupid," Cordeiro said. "Tomorrow my kids have school, so have to rearrange their schedule, but it's OK. We'll figure it out, as long as we're safe."
Passengers told WPTV's Joel Lopez that they weren't given any information about what was happening.
"People are getting really mad, not sure what's going on," Margaux Procell said. "I've heard a lot of different things. It went from hearing about a fuel leak to a threat to someone on a plane saying something. People are calling me, like, 'Do we pick you up?' I'm like, 'I have no idea.' I'm just trying to get back home to New York."
Headquartered in Denver, Frontier operates more than 100 A320 family aircraft, serving about 120 destinations in the United States, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.