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Passengers aboard flight out of Fort Lauderdale say they learned of mass shooting while in air

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SEATTLE – Passengers aboard one of the last flights out of Fort Lauderdale said upon landing in Sea-Tac Friday night that they found out midair about the airport shooting that killed five people and injured 8.

“I was kind of scared coming into this baggage area,” Ashlin Dolin said.

She heard about the shooting from a man seated in front of her on the return flight home from Fort Lauderdale.

“I asked him if that happened after we left, and he said, ‘Yeah.’

“It was really sad,” said Dolin. “That could’ve been anyone on our plane.”

Another passenger Q13 News spoke to did not want to give his name or show his face on camera. He said the stranger sitting next to him woke him up, knowing the importance of the news.

“We were in midair and my fellow passenger woke me up and said, ‘Hey, there was a shooting, we just missed it,’” said the man. He said he borrowed that passenger’s WIFI and began a process he’d only heard of others doing.

“I put up a Facebook status, texted everyone I knew I was safe,” he said. “I know that a lot of people were anxious, my family included.”

When asked if there was an announcement made about the shooting on the plane, Dolin said no. “I think a lot of people didn’t know about it until we landed,” she said.

What Dolin said meshed with what Laurie Rogers saw in St. Louis. The Fort Lauderdale plane had a layover there, before continuing on to its final destination.

“She was distraught,” Rogers said about a woman she saw disembark. She said passengers were turning on their phones and some, like this woman, were bombarded with questions.

“Her friends and family weren’t sure,” she said. “’Are you safe? Are you ok?’ And she didn’t know the details, so she was asking me and another woman ‘what’s going on?’ And we told her as much as we knew.”

Dolin said the shooting came as a shock, but it’s not going to stop her from flying again. “I think that stuff happens and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Dolin. “It’s really horrible, but things like that happen.”

Shootings, she said, are a part of society. There’s really no way to secure yourself, she said. “Even if you move the barrier back, there’s always going to be an area that’s not safe.”

All flights to and from Fort Lauderdale on Friday were canceled, but the airport tweeted Friday night that flights would resume Saturday.