Canberra Airport has been evacuated.
At approximately 13:30 AEST gunshots were fired inside the terminal. Canberra is Australia’s capital city and home to Parliament House, the Prime Minister’s and Governor-General’s official residences, the High Court of Australia and various embassies. Canberra is located inside the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
The whole of @CanberraAirport has been evacuated… reports of what sounded like 3 gunshots heard in the lower concourse, causing people to flee upstairs. Now AFP are doing a sweep of the entire airport.
— Fran Kelly (@frankelly08) August 14, 2022
The mother of a Qantas worker tweeted that their daughter was locked down in the upper level after shots were heard on the lower level of the airport.
My daughter, who works at Canberra airport, reports that they are in lockdown on the upper level, due to armed man on lower level. She says shots fired.
— Deane-Peter Baker (@DPBEthics) August 14, 2022
Passengers were held on planes while the Australian Federal Police (AFP) did a security sweep of the airport. As of 15:00 AEST ABC News Australia is reporting that passengers are still being held onboard planes, as the terminal is being treated as a crime scene.
Witnesses reported hearing 8-10 gunshots. AFP officers barred the doors to the airport. One witness told The Guardian Australia they heard 5-6 shots and described the alleged offender as a clean cut middle aged man with a pistol. “Security just said ‘run, run’, so we all ran outside.” Another witness told Guardian, “People just flooded out in a stampede. People were getting knocked over.”
One woman told me she saw a man holding a pistol, shooting into the air, near the Canberra airport check-in counter. She described the man as middle-aged, “clean cut”. Claims 5-6 shots fired
Hundreds of people still waiting outside in the cold pic.twitter.com/M3K2UnamCG
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) August 14, 2022
ABC reporter Lily Thomson was in the terminal at the time and told the national broadcaster, “”I saw this grandma with a baby and the fear in her face and I knew it was something serious. So we all ran and I stayed with that grandma and her baby and hid behind an information desk. We stayed there for a couple of minutes until security told us to evacuate out to the car park. Everyone was hiding behind chairs and people were running. It was terrifying. We didn’t know what was going on. The look on people’s faces was quite terrifying.”
Another ABC reporter, Louise Milligan was also inside the terminal at the time, while ABC Radio Canberra newsreader Dan Bourchier is a passenger on a plane waiting to disembark.
OK yes, apparently gunfire. We are all outside now and police are questioning people about what they saw and heard. They’re checking inside the terminal to make sure it is OK. pic.twitter.com/Dlgwcrr54D
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) August 14, 2022
The captain added: “however the Australian Federal Police are treating the area as a crime scene, so the area is actually cordoned off at the moment, which obviously prevents anyone from entering the terminal.”
— Dan Bourchier (@Dan_Bourchier) August 14, 2022
The AFP has confirmed one person has been arrested with one gun recovered. The situation is “contained” with no injuries. ACT Policing are asking people not to attend the airport. ACT Policing have told media that 5 shots were fired. It’s believed the alleged offender had not gone thru security and shots were fired at windows, not directed at people.
About 1:30pm today police were called to the Canberra Airport following reports of gunshots in the main terminal building. Shortly after, one person was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered. There is no immediate threat to public safety. Details: https://t.co/Eh4iLDeMwY pic.twitter.com/8LmZXycgCG
— ACT Policing (@ACTPolicing) August 14, 2022
— Thomas O'Brien (@TJ__OBrien) August 14, 2022
We are working with the AFP and our airline partners on recommencing flights this afternoon. If you are travelling this afternoon, please check with your airline. Some flights have been cancelled and or rescheduled.
— Canberra Airport (@CanberraAirport) August 14, 2022
As of 15:15 AEST planes are still grounded with AFP saying they hope flights will resume later this afternoon.
Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has tweeted about the incident.
Have been briefed by the AFP on the incident at Canberra Airport this afternoon. I am advised a man has been detained and there is no ongoing threat present.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) August 14, 2022
Australian Labor Party Senator for the ACT, and Minister for Finance, Minister for Women and Minister for the Australian Public Service, Katy Gallacher has also tweeted a response to the incident.
Shocked to hear this news. Our local airport is such an important part of Canberra community and it must have been terrifying for everyone @CanberraAirport this afternoon. Thanks so much to first responders for keeping everyone safe. https://t.co/cW5rdGWHgA
— Katy Gallagher (@SenKatyG) August 14, 2022