By LISA ORKIN EMMANUEL
Aug 19, 2005
MIAMI (AP) - Travelers arriving in the United States from abroad were
stuck in long lines at airports nationwide when a virus shut down a
U.S. Customs computer system for several hours, officials said.
Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said the virus impacted
computer systems at a number of airports Thursday night, including
those in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas
and Laredo, Texas.
Knocke said customs agents immediately switched to manual inspections.
He declined to provide details on where the computer virus originated.
The worst delays appeared to be at Miami International Airport, where
as many as 2,000 people waited to clear immigration, airport spokesman
Marc Henderson said. The passengers were not permitted to leave the
area before then.
Brian Hunt and his wife, who were visiting from Spain, said it took
them nearly five hours to be processed.
"The agent was very charming, very nice and greeted us with a smile,"
he told The Miami Herald. "It was just an unfortunate thing, but these
things happen. Who do we blame?"
The computer problem originated in database systems located in
Virginia and lasted from around 6 p.m. until about 11:30 p.m., said
Zachary Mann, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in
At New York's airports, customs officials processed passengers by
hand. Officials used backup computer systems to keep passengers moving
at Los Angeles International Airport, where the computers were only
down for an hour and a half.
"It was during a light time of travel for international passengers at
LAX," said Mike Fleming, customs spokesman in Los Angeles. "All
systems have been restored to full capacity."
Sept 16-18th, 2005
San Diego, California