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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
From hurricanes to terror alerts
By David Green
BBC News, Manchester

Catherine Hutchinson and Richard Ayleth
Richard Ayleth (r) was flying out of the US on 9/11
Hundreds of tourists escaped Hurricane Rita only to find themselves in the middle of a major terror alert.

Many of the bewildered passengers at Manchester Airport had recently arrived on a flight from resorts in Florida.

But amid the long delays and mixed up luggage, the famous British stiff upper lip appeared intact.

"It's a little bit worrying, you feel a bit insecure, but you have to get on with your life," said Julie Gater, of Stoke-on-Trent, who had flown in from Florida hours earlier.

"It's important that everybody is safe - its just one of those things."

Phil Jones, of Llandudno, in north Wales, described the scenes inside the terminal as "utter chaos".

Manchester Airport passengers have their say

"They told us there was an incident. People were waiting for their luggage and it was all mixed up on the carousels from different flights," he said.

"That said, I've only been waiting for two hours here - I've waited longer than that at Heraklion [in Crete] for my luggage!"

Meanwhile, on a roundabout outside Terminal Two, a growing queue of stoical holidaymakers were braving Manchester's wind and rain while they waited patiently to be allowed in.

Richard Ayleth, of Rochdale, thought he had already had the one terror near miss of his life.

"I was flying out of Florida to the UK on 9/11 when the planes flew into the twin towers in New York," he said.

"Now I'm flying back out there and we get this."

"The man shouldn't have been allowed to get on to the taxi-way, so security must be lax. It is worrying," he added.

Passengers ask police for advice during a security alert at Manchester Airport
Passengers waited patiently to be let in to the terminal
Most passengers, however, remained confident in airport security, which has been stepped up since a BBC investigation revealed lapses in 2004.

"We travel to America quite a bit and the security at Manchester Airport is more strict than it is in Orlando. I am confident we will be fine," said Carole Blakemore, of Swinton.

Eventually, with the terror suspect taken away for questioning and a package destroyed in a controlled explosion, police allowed the holidaymakers back in.

Minutes later it was as though nothing had happened.

Passengers waited at the check in desk, with only a little grumbling.

Man held in airport terror alert
23 Sep 05 |  Manchester

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