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Racism blamed on mass panic at New Jersey airport

Passengers ran off in a panic, many leaving their luggage behind, after an Alaskan Airline employee screamed “evacuate.”

Two San Francisco airline passengers suspect racial profiling caused mass panic at Newark Liberty Airport Labor Day, reports BuzzFeed News.

An airline employee suddenly screamed “evacuate” at the airline gate-sending hundreds of passengers running , some falling and tripping over each other. Many escaped to the tarmac. This video posted by the New York Post shows some of the aftermath.

The Chinese-born men, Han Han Xue and Chunyi Luo, both said the incident started when an airline employee with Alaska Airlines became suspicious of them. Both were returning home to San Francisco. Xue was raised in Canada before moving to the states. Luo came from China two years ago to attend a San Francisco college.

“Why are you acting suspiciously?” Xue said the airline employee asked him. . “How much are they paying you? Did they give you a visa? Did they give your family a visa? Do you make a lot of money? Do you work on Wall Street? Are you on an American visa?” Xue said she asked him.

Xue believed he was racially profiled because he is East Asian.

Luo said he had no idea he was part of the panic and assumed, like many others, that there was a shooter.

“I thought somebody had a gun,” he told BuzzFeed News. “Everyone is running. I just followed them and escaped.”

Alaska Airlines declined to comment on the employee’s action, but did apologize to the passengers.

“We understand the Newark issue was alarming and distressing for our guests and other flyers, and for that we are deeply sorry,” said Oriana Branon. “We are conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and gathering witness statements to understand what exactly took place and why this happened.”

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