DATE: January 11, 2017
Examples of Items Without Identification
MEDIA CONTACT: Margaret Stapleton, Director
Office of Public Communications
BROWARD COUNTY, FL - The number of new claim forms for carry-on bags and personal items left at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the number of items being held in a secure airport warehouse continues to decline, as dedicated teams work 24/7 to reunite travelers with their belongings.
The personal item recovery effort began almost immediately after the tragic January 6, active shooter incident at the Airport. More than 23,000 bags and other items were left abandoned in airport terminals and other areas as passengers fled the scene. By Sunday morning, all items had been collected, transported to a secure area and sorting began in preparation for identification and return to their rightful owners.
A consultant hired by Broward County to assist in the recovery said the airport is much further along in the reunification process than expected for an incident of this size and magnitude. "The task of collecting, securing, sorting, identifying and returning over 23,000 personal items is a monumental task that would normally take several weeks or longer," said CEO/Director of Aviation Mark Gale. "Thousands of carry-on and personal items have already been returned to their owners, or are in the process of being couriered or shipped to them. Thousands more checked bags have been returned by the airlines. We appreciate everyone's patience as we manage this very complex process."
The effort to identify and return personal items to their owners will continue throughout the week and weekend. Once all possible means of identifying an owner is exhausted, photographs of the remaining items will be placed on a website.
"The more items we can identify and return to owners prior to establishing the website, the faster passengers will be able to review the site, identify and reclaim their remaining items," said Gale. He said that the website, operated and maintained by the consultant, is expected to go live on Wednesday, January 18.
"Pieces of luggage are often generally identifiable, but electronic devices including laptops and cell phones often are not," Gale continued. "While it is extremely inconvenient for individuals to be without these items, we must take time to ensure each is returned only to its rightful owner."
WHAT PASSENGERS CAN DO TO HELP:
· If you have not already filed a claim describing your items, please do so by calling toll free 866-435-9355 from 8:30AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.
· Please do not file a duplicate claim for the same item(s), as this will slow down the return process. However, if you discover that you did not previously file a claim for items you left behind, submit a new claim for those items.
· Please do not come to the airport or any other location to claim your items, unless you have been asked to do so by an airport representative. Items are being held in a secure area that is not accessible to the public. You will receive a phone call or email from an airport representative notifying you that your item(s) have been located and are ready for pick up or delivery.
· Once the website containing photos of unidentified items is launched next week, visit the site to identify any of your remaining item(s) and provide contact information necessary for reclaiming them. You will be asked a series of questions to establish identification.
Please continue to check our website, or the airport's website for updates, or follow us on Twitter @FLLFLYER.