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Domestic terminal at Atlanta airport evacuated for suspicious package

A suspicious package found at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has caused authorities to evacuate the public areas of the domestic terminal. Passengers are seen above being debriefed in an evacuation area. (WGXA/T.J. Strickler)

ATLANTA (WGXA) - A suspicious package found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has caused authorities to evacuate the public areas of the domestic terminal.

WGXA's photographer T.J. Strickler was on the scene and said that airport officials asked passengers to form a single-file line to a holding area where everyone was screened by airport security.

"We just heard a lady scream and saw all these people running," said Justin Strong, a passenger from Tennessee. "We heard security holler 'active shooter' so we took off in the direction of the crowd. It was the utmost panic I've ever seen in my life. We ran all the way down, people were just trying to push through to get out the door. I was scared for a few moments. My adrenaline was pumping, my main goal was to get outside and get to safety."

Airport officials began debriefing passengers at about 9:45 a.m. local time. Authorities cleared the scene by about 10 a.m.

Authorities told passengers that it was a false alarm and the suspicious package was just an unattended bag.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is the world's busiest airport, with a record 101.5 million passengers in 2015.

This incident comes just one day after bombs exploded at an airport and train station in Brussels, Belgium, killing more than 30 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

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