MIA travelers speak out on Istanbul attack amid heightened security

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - As airports across the United States heightened security measures in the wake of Tuesday’s deadly suicide bombings in Turkey, travelers at Miami International Airport who flew in from Istanbul shared their experiences.

Parked Miami-Dade Police cruisers were clearly visible in front of terminals throughout the airport, Wednesday evening, a clear sign security has been ratcheted up. Officers wearing vests and carrying large weapons were seen patrolling the terminals.

For passengers landing from Istanbul, the bombings came as a shock, especially for a pastor and his family who told 7News they barely made their flight. “Well, what happened with us, we actually got stuck because the computer systems were down for like an hour, so we almost didn’t make it out,” said Corey Erman. “We are actually blessed that we made it out.”

While they were already safely flying over, Erman and his loved ones were able to watch a live broadcast of the event as it unfolded: bombers unleashing carnage at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport. “Really, the last three hours of the flight, we were just watching to see what was going on. It’s terrible,” he said.

The effects for travelers upon landing at MIA, a major hub for international travel, was unmistakable. “You had to hold your passport,” said Maria Teresa Reyes, who traveled through Istanbul.

Officials took every precaution, checking passports as they deplaned. Clearing Customs took longer than usual, according to travelers.

Extra Miami-Dade Police officers remained at the airport, Wednesday morning. “I like to see the police presence,” said flyer Maria Amor. “I like to see the dogs. I don’t mind waiting a little longer. I think it’s necessary. This is the world we’re living in today.”

Another flight passenger, Robert Pitts, said the attacks will make him cautious, not nervous. “I don’t want it to alter my behavior in the sense that I’m just going to stop living the life I like to live,” said Pitts. “I’m certainly thinking about security and just trying to be vigilant, watching out for myself and others, too.”

According Miami International Airport’s website, there is a flight that has left Istanbul for Miami, which is expected to arrive Wednesday evening. The airport also confirmed an outgoing flight to Istanbul.

From a similar scene for passengers at New York’s JFK Airport to what Erman and his family went through at MIA, it was a surreal flight and a true blessing to arrive safely. “It’s a part of living in Turkey. We live there, so it’s a part of living there,” said Erman.

Erman will be ministering to several South Florida churches for several weeks during his stay.

More flights are expected to travel into and out of MIA, and some flights will be headed to Istanbul and other parts of Turkey.

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