TSA officer jumps to his death at Orlando airport

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ORLANDO, Fla. — An officer from the Transportation Security Administration jumped to his death from a balcony inside Florida’s busiest airport Saturday, creating panic that brought some security checkpoints to a halt for hours and caused serious delays.

Panicked passengers rushed past checkpoints leading to about half of the gates at Orlando International Airport after the man jumped, resulting in checkpoint closures for up to three hours and some flight cancelations.

“At no point were passengers in any danger,” airport officials said in a statement.

The TSA officer in his 40s died from an apparent suicide, according to the Orlando Police Department, which described it as an isolated incident.

“Our hearts are with the TSA family during this very difficult time,” the department tweeted.

The man jumped from a hotel balcony inside the airport into the atrium where passengers wait to get through security.

The officer was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to the police.

The airport tweeted that passengers who rushed past checkpoints were returned for a second examination out of an abundance of caution. A security sweep of the affected gates and aircraft was conducted, and all flights to and from the affected gates were stopped until security measures were reinstated, according to the airport.

The airport warned passengers Saturday afternoon to give themselves plenty of time to get through security.

“We ask that you have patience with airport personnel as they work through this tragic incident,” the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

The airlines affected by the stoppage included Alaska, Air Canada, Delta and Southwest airlines.

By Saturday afternoon, Southwest Airlines had cancelled 49 inbound flights and 45 outbound flights, according to the airport.

Suicide resources

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, the following resources are available:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.

Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.

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