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Sunday, Mar 18, 2018
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Man jailed after bomb scare closes Jacksonville airport

JACKSONVILLE – A 39-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested in connection with a bomb scare that led to a four-hour evacuation Tuesday night at Jacksonville International Airport.

According to Duval County jail records, Zeljko Causevic faces charges of making a false report about planting a bomb or explosive, and the manufacture, sale or delivery of a mail hoax bomb.

The airport was shut down about 6 p.m. after authorities found two suspicious packages — one they said was destructive —in the terminal and in a nearby parking garage. The airport reopened just before 11 p.m.

During a late-night news conference, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said one of the packages “had some destructive nature” and was taken offsite. He did not elaborate.

Causevic was booked at 1:30 a.m. after his arrest by the airport police and was scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, the Times-Union reported.

Michael Stewart, who handles external affairs for the Jacksonville Airport Aviation Authority, said another suspect was arrested and questioned. He said that suspect is not connected to the incident at this time.

Passengers and people who arrived at the airport to pick them up were stranded for hours as officials investigated.

Authorities said some incoming planes were held up on the tarmac until buses arrived to pick up passengers. The passengers were shuttled to nearby hotels.

With the airport reopening late Tuesday, airport spokesman Michael Stewart said individual airlines would determine how to restart their operations. “The airlines will work to ensure all passengers will receive their luggage,” the airport tweeted on its officials Twitter account.

Arlie Gentry was on a Southwest flight arriving from New York via Baltimore just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We moved from one spot on the runway to another spot,” said Gentry, who was reached on his cellphone while still on the plane. “They told us we couldn’t get off the plane.”

Gentry said the pilots initially told passengers they didn’t know what was going on.

While the delay was cumbersome and bothersome, Gentry said everyone on his plane remained calm. He said he was never really concerned for his safety because the plane remained so far from the terminal.

Around 9:30 p.m., a bus arrived to take the passengers on Gentry’s flight to a nearby hotel.

He said his sisters had been waiting in the parking lot for several hours and were planning to take him back to Gainesville.

On Wednesday, travelers were advised to check with their airlines regarding flight information.

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Man jailed after bomb scare closes Jacksonville airport