JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville International Airport is back open after being evacuated Tuesday evening after the bomb squad responded to the airport.
JAX Airport's Twitter account initially reported the incident, saying "Due to police activity regarding suspicious packages, JAX airport has been evacuated. Please check with airline for flight updates."
Michael Stewart, Jacksonville Airport Authority spokesperson, confirmed the evacuation and the presence of the JSO Bomb Squad.
Stewart said that travelers should check with their airlines to find out if travel plans have been changed.
Here is a timeline of the events as they unfolded on Tuesday:
6:50 p.m. -- According to First Coast News' news partner The Florida Times-Union, the evacuation occurred after a man claimed to have a bomb, said police sources.
6:57 p.m. -- Lance Grooms, a witness, says he was inside the airport security screening area when a man was handcuffed. He says everyone in the area was told to quickly evacuate.
7:01 p.m. -- Everyone who has evacuated was seated 100 yards from the airport and is not being provided with information.
Four flights have been confirmed as delayed.
7:07 p.m. -- According to FlightAware.com, JAX is currently experiencing all inbound flights being held at their origin until 7:45 p.m. due to security.
7:15 p.m. -- According to JAX's Twitter account: "Passengers on in-bound flights currently on the ground will be bused to off-site hotels as transportation becomes available."
7:20 p.m. -- JAX's Twitter: "Media update will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the JAA admin building parking lot."
7:35 p.m. -- Michael Stewart of JAX airport: Passengers are being taken to nearby hotels because they cannot get to their cars. One package was in the garage and one package was in the terminal. He did not confirm any arrests.
8:30 p.m. -- Stewart and Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Shannon Hartley held a news conference, saying that the JSO bomb squad is searching the airport to ensure that there are no other packages.
"It is a large area to search so it's going to take a while," Hartley said.
The airport will remain closed until the investigation is complete, Stewart said. Neither Hartley or Stewart were able to provide a timetable of when the airport would reopen.
Roads into the airport are closed, Stewart said. Passengers who were stuck on planes at gates were beginning to be offloaded.
8:55 p.m. -- @JAXairport: "Once airport is re-opened, airlines will offload luggage & notify customers where to claim."
11 p.m. -- Stewart and Hartley held another news conference. Hartley said a device had to be taken off site to be rendered safe by the JSO bomb squad. Hartley also said the "device certainly had some destructive nature to it."
Stewart said one of the devices was found near the TSA checkpoint. Hartley said another device did not need to be taken off site to be rendered safe.
Stewart and Hartley would still not confirm if anyone was in custody or if any arrests have been made.
Stewart said the airport is considered open and they are in the process of bringing back airport and TSA employees. The closure of the airport resulted in the cancellation of 18 flights, four delayed flights and one diverted flight.
Travelers scheduled to go through JAX airport on Wednesday are encouraged to check scheduled flight times with their individual airlines. Passengers will be contacted and told where they can pick up their luggage.
The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation.
First Coast News