TSA officer dead from fall at Orlando airport; flights grounded following apparent suicide
An off-duty Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) officer fell to his death Saturday from a balcony inside Orlando International Airport, briefly grounding flights and causing lengthy delays.
“At 9:30 a.m., an individual jumped from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into the atrium area of the airport. A male in his 40s was found in critical condition and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Preliminary information suggests an apparent suicide,” the Orlando Police Department announced on Twitter.
“We can confirm the deceased individual involved in this incident is an employee of the @TSA,” the police department tweeted. “Our hearts are with the @TSA family during this very difficult time.”
The TSA subsequently identified the employee as an off-duty officer. A name was not immediately disclosed.
Jim Gregory, a spokesman for TSA, said the officer had finished works moments before jumping, Orlando’s Local 10 reported.
The incident sent several passengers scattering, forcing the TSA to rescreen individuals at the state’s busiest airport out of an abundance of caution.
Gates 70-129 inside the airport’s Terminal A were closed for hours, and the Federal Aviation Administration briefly grounded flights, the Miami Herald reported.
Scores of inbound and outbound flights were either delayed or canceled at the airport as of early Saturday afternoon.
The TSA employs around 47,000 officers at airports across the U.S. They were among the roughly hundreds of thousands of federal employees who were either furloughed or forced to work without pay during the unprecedented 35-day partial government shutdown resolved last week.