FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — “It’s not about stuff, I have my life,” said Eve Presler. “People lost their life yesterday. It’s not what you expect when you come back from vacation.”
Presler had just gotten off a cruise and was about to board a plane headed home to Colorado when it all turned chaotic.
“To be told to jump under the seats and then run and run and run,” she exclaimed. “I’m emotionally exhausted.”
She was one of thousands that were told to run to the runway — then toward the fences, then over to the railroad tracks and to a freeway underpass — with their hands up in the air.
“Turned into total chaos,” Presler recalled. “We had no idea where we were running, we didn’t know if there was a shooter behind us when they yelled everyone down.”
Many passengers were forced to leave their personal belongings behind.
“I just want to go home. I have no ID, no passport, no resources to pay for a cab,” said one inconvenienced traveler.
Hundreds were bused to Port Everglades where the Red Cross tried to assist, giving away blankets and pillows as they spent the night. Saturday morning, they were taken back to the airport.
“They’re making people leave the Everglades but go where,” asked another traveler.
For those with nowhere to go, the agencies are looking to make a more permanent shelter until things are resolved. Authorities say that could take days as they catalog and organize 20,000 pieces of luggage and personal items that were left behind.
Governor Rick Scott and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz are working with state authorities to have a mobile unit issue temporary ID’s for Florida residents, but do not have a clear timeline for what will happen to out-of-state travelers.
“I will be assisting with that to see if there’s a way to use technology to try to help those who are not from Florida to get an ID printed or produced that they can travel with,” Wasserman Schultz said at a press conference Saturday morning.
Officials say it could take some time to figure out how to get passengers back home, especially if they have no identification, which could also take some time to reunite them with their personal items.
Call 1-866-435-9355 for more information.