Officials gives update about camera battery that exploded at OIA

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 7:34 AM EST

Orlando International Airport officials gave an update on the chaos that was caused Friday after a small lithium battery exploded.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) said it was only a matter of minutes before the whole airport was in a frenzy.

"There was a lot of confusion and human nature took it's course. There were a lot of people who were running for what they thought were their lives," said Phil Brown, CEO GOAA.

In hindsight, the overall threat was small. But GOAA determined changes need to be made to their response.

"We also had to send pages out through the terminal. But at that point when the pages started going out, you had in excess of 5,000 people in the terminal, it was noisy, you couldn’t hear those pages," said Brown.

However, communication was not the only problem. When people in the TSA lines fled, many ran past the TSA security lines and into the airside of the terminal. The problem is that if one person who has not been checked by TSA crosses into the secure part of the airport where people board the planes, TSA is required to re-check everyone.

"In the best of all worlds, perhaps if we could have contained the checkpoint," said Brown. "But nobody knew for sure that point in time whether you had an active shooter, whether you had multiple active shooters or whether you had bombs."

It took almost four hours to re-check all passengers and get flights going again. Twenty-nine flights were canceled once everything was over.

However, the root of the problem, the lithium batteries, is actually out of GOAA hands.

"If it would have happened on the plane it would have been a problem. That is why the FAA is looking at lithium batteries right now," said Brown.

Currently the FAA only allows lithium batteries in carry-on bags and not checked bags.

The whole incident was deemed an accident and no charges will be filed against the laptop owner.