Montrealers return home from Fort Lauderdale following airport shooting rampage
Montreal travelers stranded in Florida following the massacre at the international airport in Fort Lauderdale began arriving home on Saturday.
"A lot of people were talking about [the shooting] in the airport, in the plane, as we are standing at the carousel waiting for bags," Morrie Baker said of his flight home "The truth of the matter is it was only a few steps away [from where we could have been that the gunman open fire], that it could have been anybody waiting for their bags," he continued.
Among those waiting at Trudeau International Airport for those returning to Montreal on Saturday was Stephanie Hutman.
"It was very, very scary, they were actually scheduled to fly today, but knowing they could have been at the airport at the same time yesterday is sickening, and I feel sick for those families and for anyone that was injured or lost their lives," she told reporters as she waited for family at arrivals.
The first flight from Fort Lauderdale following the shooting arrived in Montreal at 6:18 p.m. on Saturday, followed shortly after by the first Air Canada flight—taking off from the terminal where the gunman opened fire—which left Florida for Montreal around the same time, after some delays.
Some Montrealers were able to fly out of Miami instead of waiting, like Vince Feigan, who was in Terminal 2 when shots rang out on Friday.
"All of a sudden, I looked up and people were flying over the chairs, everyone was yelling and screaming they went right for the exits and then they went right down onto the tarmac.
He also says the notion that, according to authorities, the gunman was able to check a gun into his luggage legally, and then load it at the airport and open fire at baggage claim, is deeply concerning.
"I go to the security they take away my shampoo, I have over three and a half ounces, but with a gun with the bullets in the same [bag], you have to have your head examined, that's crazy," he said.
Hundreds of passengers leaving for Canadian destinations saw their flights delayed or cancelled after the airport was shutdown from the pandemonium. Feigan and other travelers returning to Montreal say there are many stranded that are not receiving adequate aid from airlines as they try to rebook their flights.
—with files from Rob Lurie of CTV Montreal at Trudeau International Airport