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Bad joke prompts Alaska airport evacuation

Sunday - 10/14/2012, 8:52pm  ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The main terminal of Anchorage's largest airport was evacuated Sunday after a man made comments about a bomb, which he later said were meant to be taken as a joke.

Police at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport took the matter seriously and arrested Peter Friesema on charges of making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. Friesema was jailed at the Anchorage Correctional Complex with bail set at $5,000, airport manager John Parrott said by email.

The incident began shortly after midnight. A man checking in for an Alaska Airlines flight "made a statement about a bomb in a bag," Parrott told the Anchorage Daily News ( http://bit.ly/RvbhFq).

"That caused us and the airlines, the TSA, the airport police, to have to evacuate the building, the terminal," he said.

Many passengers were not dressed for freezing temperatures on a night that saw snowfall but they were ordered outside the terminal. Some huddled in doorways to keep warm.

After 1 a.m., airport shuttle buses took passengers to another terminal but could only carry a dozen people or so at a time from the hundreds who waited in the cold.

To give people more places to warm up, the rental car center also was opened, and its buses were used to transport passengers, Parrott said.

Police set up a roadblock on a street leading to the airport to prevent drivers from getting to the terminal. That created a long stretch of traffic along Anchorage's International Airport Road.

The terminal reopened at about 3 a.m.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)