3 from New York arrested when chaos breaks out at Fort Lauderdale Airport after flights canceled

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
3 from New York arrested when chaos breaks out at Ft. Lauderdale airport
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Kristin Thorne has more from Brentwood.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (WABC) -- Chaos broke out at a Florida airport Monday night when hundreds of people found out their flights were canceled, landing three people from New York behind bars.

Video shows travelers fighting with police at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Watch the full video here:

Long lines formed after the cancellations, and some customers became irate.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said three New York residents were arrested.

Sheriff's reports released Tuesday said about 500 people were in the Spirit terminal when 22-year-old Desmond Waul of Selden and 24-year-old Janice Waul and 22 year-old Davante Garrett, both of Brentwood, were seen by deputies threatening the airline's front counter employees.

Deputies said their actions caused the crowd to become increasingly aggressive to the point of near violence and that they wouldn't leave when ordered.

The three are charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and trespassing. They were being held Tuesday at the Broward jail in lieu of $10,000 bond each.

Left to right: Devante Garrett, Desmond Waul, Janice Waul
Photos/Broward County Sheriff's Office

The incident happened after Spirit Airlines canceled nine flights, amid ongoing labor negotiations between the airline and the Airline Pilots Association.

The airline blames the Airline Pilots Association for the cancellations in a statement. The low-cost carrier says it has filed a lawsuit against the pilots association over an "unlawful job action."

The association said Spirit pilots aren't engaged in any job action with Spirit and that the airline's operations "have experienced significant problems over the past several days."

Workers were overwhelmed by the angry and frustrated passengers, and called police.

Paul Berry, a spokesperson for Spirit Airlines, said the airline was shocked and saddened to see the video. He issued this statement to Eyewitness News:

"We sincerely apologize to our customers for the disruption and inconveniences they have suffered. We believe this is the result of intimidation tactics by a limited number of pilots affecting the behavior of the larger group. We are hopeful that we can put this moment behind us and get back to serving our customers."

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was the scene of a January mass shooting that killed five people and wounded six.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)