TSA worker dead following jump from balcony at Orlando International Airport

  • ​​​​​​​​7:45 P.M. UPDATE:

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Transportation Security Administration worker jumped to his death inside a terminal Saturday at Orlando International Airport and authorities immediately locked down the area for security concerns.

There were still delays on many departing flights into Saturday evening.

Authorities said the TSA worker committed suicide around 9:30 a.m.


One man who witnessed the tragedy reached out to Channel 9 after it happened.

James Shaw said he thought the uniformed TSA officer was doing some kind of work when he saw him on the ledge.

Now, he can't stop asking himself whether he could've done more to help.

“When I came out of our room, went to the elevator and saw this TSA worker standing on the ledge,” Shaw said.

Shaw, like several other people walking in the hallways of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport or waiting in the TSA lines, shrugged this off at first.

“We thought he was just up there, maybe doing something for the company,” witness Trenell Ambersley said.

Now, all the witnesses to the tragedy are trying to figure out if they missed the signs.

DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

That's especially true for Shaw, who was on the 10th floor of the Hyatt and believes he was the last person to see the TSA worker alive.

“Came down to the fourth floor, and that's when you heard the boom,” Shaw said. “I thought at first it was something else. It didn't connect, and then I looked and saw him and I knew.”

Shaw said the shock instantly spread through the security screening area, where hundreds of people visibly panicked.

But more than the chaos after, Shaw said he can't stop replaying that moment before.

“I just talked to my dad and I said, ‘Dad, I didn't say anything to him,'” Shaw said.

He keeps asking himself if he could've made a difference. He keeps wondering whether a few words might have saved a man's life.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK.

  • ​​​5:10 P.M. UPDATE:
Florida politicians including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Darren Soto are some of the officials talking about this incident through social media.
  • 3:35 P.M. UPDATE:

Airport officials confirmed Southwest Airlines has canceled 49 inbound flights and 45 outbound flights at Orlando International Airport and that number could change.

  • 2:50 P.M. UPDATE:

Airport officials said wait times at the east checkpoint are now less than 15 minutes and several flights have been canceled.

WFTV reporter Deanna Allbrittin is seeing many flights that were scheduled to leave between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. have been canceled.

  • 1:55 P.M. UPDATE:

Airport officials said the east checkpoint and gates 70-129 affected by the incident have reopened and there are ongoing delays for passenger screenings.

  • 1:15 P.M. UPDATE:

Current wait times are 102 minutes and WFTV reporter Johny Fernandez is speaking with a witness who saw the incident occur.

  • 12:45 P.M. UPDATE:

A spokesperson at OIA said Airside 4, which houses gates 70-99, was reopened and passengers are being offloaded as of 12:30 p.m.

Airlines operating at the gates include Delta, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Air Canada, LATAM and Sun Country, officials said.

The airport spokesperson said there is still no update on checkpoint delays at gates 70-129.

  • 12:08 P.M. UPDATE:

Orlando police have confirmed the incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. and the victim is a man in his 40s.

  • 11:45 A.M. UPDATE:
A uniformed off-duty Transportation Security Administration worker has died after jumping from a balcony inside the Orlando International Airport on Saturday, according to a TSA spokesperson.
Orlando Police said a person jumped from the Hyatt Regency Hotel into the atrium and there is an active investigation.
Airport officials said a man may have jumped from a floor just above the east checkpoint, which serves gates 70-129.

Travelers are now being asked to return to security to be rescreened.

The incident caused some passengers to move through security without being screened by TSA workers, officials said.
All passengers at gates 70-129 are being rescreened over security concerns.
A spokesperson for OIA said operations at gates 1-59 are not affected and are proceeding as normal.
  • 11:23 A.M. UPDATE:

Lines are wrapped around the OIA security area and into the food court.

Airline workers have advised that all flights have been grounded and there are delays.

DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

  • 11:15 A.M. UPDATE:

WFTV reporter Johny Fernandez is seeing wait times up to 80 minutes for gate 70-129.

  • 11:05 A.M. UPDATE:

Travelers at Orlando International Airport were delayed Saturday due to an incident near a TSA security checkpoint.

Everything is at a standstill in Terminal A as an airline worker said all gates form 70-129 have been grounded due to the breach in security.

An incident caused bystanders to scatter and some travelers went through security lines without being searched, according to the airline worker.


Travelers are now being asked to return to security to be rescreened.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s website said the incident at OIA is causing travelers to experience delays and fights are being affected.

DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live

Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD