At a time of heightened alert, officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today were looking into why passengers from an international flight were accidentally allowed to skip immigration and customs at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In one exclusive photo supplied to CBS 2’s Don Champion from a passenger, the confusion is clearly evident on the faces of Delta Airlines Flight 3 passengers.
The flight from London Heathrow Airport to JFK landed just before 8:30 p.m. Monday. Once at the gate, instead of Delta sending the 54 passengers onboard to immigration and customs – which is required – they were mistakenly allowed to bypass the process all together.
“It’s a mistake,” said security expert Robert Strang, “and obviously, it’s a bad mistake.”
Strang, of the Investigative Management Group, said the immigration process is critical. Among other reasons, passengers from international flights are required to go through immigration and customs to ensure they’re cleared and safe to enter the country.
In this case, Strang said security likely wasn’t compromised, because the passengers were checked in London.
“Most of the names that are out there, we share,” Strang said. “So if there’s someone who has criminal intent; if there is a terrorist; if there is someone who might be carrying some type of explosive, they would never have been able to get on that airplane.”
Read more at CBS 2 NEW YORK.