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Vehicle crash, false report of gunman cause panic at LAX

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — A car crash and false alarms on Friday night evacuated Los Angeles International Airport terminals, stalled dozens of flights and panicked passengers.

About 4,600 passengers were affected by the disruptions during one of the airport's busiest holiday seasons, officials said.

The panic started when a woman driving on the airport's arrivals loop had a medical emergency and lost control of her SUV. The vehicle hit a woman who was walking on a sidewalk before it slammed into a parking garage across the roadway from Terminal 5, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Guardado.

Sounds from the crash spurred reports of gunfire among passengers inside the terminal. Many fled the building, said airport police Chief Patrick Gannon.

“It was determined relatively quickly that there was not a shooting,” he said.

Both women in the crash were injured, the pedestrian seriously, Guardado told KTTV-TV. Details on the women's conditions were not immediately available Saturday morning.

In neighboring Terminal 4, airport police received an anonymous call just after the crash reporting a gunman at a specific gate, Gannon said.

The call prompted police to evacuate about 2,000 people from both terminals while they investigated. No gunman was found, and passengers were allowed to return but had to be rescreened by security.

“It took us a couple of hours to clear those terminals,” Gannon said. “It created quite a disturbance.”

The caller had not been identified as of Saturday.

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