September 14, 2012

U. of Texas orders evacuation after bomb threats

Jim Vertuno Associated Press
 

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A bomb threat phoned in to the University of Texas at Austin campus Friday sent thousands of people streaming off campus as administrators warned students and faculty to “get as far away as possible.” No bombs had been found by midmorning.

University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said the university received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to be with al-Qaida. The man said he had placed bombs all over the campus that would go off in 90 minutes.

All buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.

Most students appeared to be leaving campus in an orderly and calm manner. Police blocked off roads to the 50,000-student campus as lines and lines of cars sat in gridlock trying to get out.

By 10:30 a.m., the university issued another advisory saying that buildings were still being checked and that no decision had been made on whether the campus would reopen for afternoon classes.

Ashley Moran, a freshman from Houston, said she was waiting to get into class when word quickly began spreading among students to leave immediately. She described the evacuation as “orderly but tense.”

“It makes me really nervous I just know we’re supposed to get out,” she said.

North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., also ordered a campus evacuation after a bomb threat Friday morning. But it was unclear whether the two threats were related.

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