(WLNS) – Lansing locals Tom Coulson and Patrick Heller say the shooting at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport was mass chaos.
The two men work at Liberty Coin in Frandor, and were in Florida for a coin convention for the week before they became one of thousands stuck at the Airport in Ft. Lauderdale.
“You think about, is this the last couple of minutes of my life,” Coulson recounted.
Coulson and Heller were at their gate at the Airport ready to fly home to Lansing, when their day went from business as usual to chaos.
“All of a sudden I just heard this ‘whoosh’ and the I just saw this wave of people coming around the corner,” Coulson explained. “People started running at top speed just screaming and they were just horrified”.
Heller and Coulson say it was a hectic situation made worse by confusion.
“Nobody knew what was really going on,” Heller said.
The two men say they followed a crowd out onto the tarmac and were later led to a hanger before eventually being allowed back into the terminal. Heller says they and their fellow travelers spent hours trying to contact loved ones while figuring out exactly what had happened.
“Since I had an extension cord with a lot of outlets that people could plug into I got to talk to a lot of people who were very thankful that I had equipment like that there,” Heller said.
Since all flights were cancelled following the attack, Heller says it took some leg work to figure out how they would get home.
“Eventually I was able to find flights we could take out of the Ft. Meyers Airport two hours away the next day,” Heller said.
While they are back home safe now, Coulson says he still can’t believe they lived through such a scary thing.
“While its something that happens its still a random event and it could happen in town here, it could happen anywhere”.