Man stopped in Newark airport panic blames racial profiling
Days after a chaotic "self evacuation" of a crowd of roughly 200 at Newark Liberty's Terminal A, two men have gone on record about what one calls a "bizarre" line of questioning from a flight attendant who first screamed for people to evacuate, according to witnesses.
The Alaska Airlines flight attendant told police she became "concerned" about her Sept. 2 conversation with two men at Gate 30, according to the Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman, causing passengers to run outside near Gate 37, not really sure why they had evacuated.
Passenger Diane Park previously told CBS New York an employee screamed "evacuate" repeatedly, causing the scramble for the doors.
One of the men, Han Han Xue, told BuzzFeed News that the employee circled him and the second man, whom Xue said he didn't know, as they stood in the terminal and asked if they knew each other. Xue told BuzzFeed that he was born in China and grew up in Canada.
The other man, Chunyi Luo, also spoke to Buzzfeed News, and said the same woman asked him if he was scared or nervous, to which he said he was nervous that his flight was late. The same report said Luo moved to California two years ago from Shanghai, China, to study finance at college in San Francisco.
The Alaska Airlines employee, whose identity has not been made public, hit an alarm and told people to evacuate, Coleman previously said.
Both men were questioned by Port Authority police and released without charges being filed, according to Coleman. The terminal was reopened and all passengers and workers were re-screened.
According to the Buzzfeed News report, when officers asked why the flight attendant might think he was suspicious, Xue said he didn't know "other than the fact we are both East Asian."
CBS New York citing unnamed sources reported that the woman is bi-polar and had an "issue" with her medication and would not be charged.
Coleman said that the employee was not charged, but did not disclose further details.
Alaska Airlines issued an an apology for the incident and said the passengers impacted were put up in a hotel for the night. They left Newark on Tuesday morning, Sept. 3.
More from New Jersey 101.5