UNO student athletes and coaches safe after Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting

Photo Courtesy AP
Photo Courtesy AP

Jared Kennedy


The University of Nebraska swimming team will arrive home in Omaha on Jan. 8. An Omaha travel agency rebooked their flight.

According to Head Coach Todd Samland, the team had just arrived at the airport when the shooting began. Several officers ran towards them shouting to to run and take cover. The team scattered and took cover in whatever spaces they could find. One teammate was separated from the rest of the party and was reunited hours after when the all clear was given.

“You don’t plan for something like this, and what I have learned is the TSA, Sheriff, and Police department have one goal and that is our safety,” Samland said.

The team had stopped for lunch on their way to the airport which took half an hour. If If they would not have stopped for lunch they would have been further within the airport than they were during the time of the shooting. When the shooting happened they were just getting off their bus. The shooting happened in baggage claim which was nowhere near the entrance.

“It is a big relief to know that the swim team is safe and will be home soon,” Student Body President Patrick Davlin said, “It was definitely surprising to read the news that they were in the building but the situation was handled well and UNO will be happy to have the team back.”

The University of Nebraska swimming team is safe after a shooting yesterday at the Fort Lauderdale airport. The team was on their way back from training in Key West, Florida when a veteran claiming the government was controlling his mind took a gun from his checked baggage and began shooting, the Omaha World Herald reported.

UNO said in a statement students were escorted to a secure area immediately after getting off their bus.

“They were told by airport security that the airport was in lockdown. They were then escorted to a secure area,” the University said.

There were 31 people traveling from the swimming and diving team—28 students and three coaches. The University said there were no UNO divers present.

The Daily Nonpareil reported a Council Bluffs man was among the five people killed in the shooting, and his wife one of the eight wounded.

“This lady, she took a shot through the upper right neck,” a witness told MSNBC. “It went through; luckily, it appears to have missed her spine area—it was pretty close to it here. They’re down on vacation from Council Bluffs, Iowa, and her husband is now dead, and she’s in the hospital.”

UNO Chancellor John Christensen said he is grateful that students and coaches are safe following the incident.

“Student safety is my top concern. We are working to get the team back to Omaha. Our thoughts are with them,” Christensen said.

At press time there is no further information on the return status of the team.





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