Chaos and panic at the Cancun Airport; authorities rule out shooting in Terminal 3


Fernando Mora, Director of Social Communication of the Government of Quintana Roo, later reported that what was heard at the Cancun Airport was not gunshots and that it was about baggage distribution bands that burst.

Cancun, Quintana Roo.- Shortly before 11:30 a.m. this Monday, chaos broke out in Terminal 3 of the Cancun International Airport, with alarmed tourists running to safety outside the facilities, to take shelter from what Apparently was a report of a detonation.

The chaos and multiple versions of what happened have been spread since the beginning of the events, but no authority has come out to clarify the facts; only Airports of the Southeast (Asur) has issued a statement in which it is not clear what it was that triggered the chaos among airport users.

According to the document, “the Cancun International Airport Emergency Operations Center reports that at 11:23 in the morning the alert of 3 was decreed due to an incident report in which multiple versions of what was happening were handled, applied the security protocols established for these issues, bringing together in the COE ( Emergency Operational Center ) the Federal Civil Aviation Agency, the National Guard, the Secretary of the Navy, and ASUR, among other authorities, to follow up on the events and initiate investigations to find the causes of what happened, there being no evidence of firearm detonations or explosions in any area of ​​the airport.

“The operations of Terminal 3 were momentarily suspended to guarantee the safety of the passengers, which was never at risk, resuming minutes later,” the Asur document indicates.

“The security forces are currently carrying out the relevant investigations to determine the cause that caused the alert among passengers and passenger users.”

“At the time that is the case, more data will be reported on what happened today,” the report reads.

In other words, neither in the version of the airport consortium is it clear what caused dozens of travelers to flee in terror from Terminal 3, throwing themselves on the floor and protecting themselves as if it were a shooting.

In the audios that have been leaked from the different transport companies that serve the air terminal, it is clearly heard that they alert their colleagues not to approach Terminal 3, as they assure that a shooting had broken out inside.

So far, only the head of State Public Security, Lucio Hernández, has issued a brief message through Twitter, in which it is not reported what caused the panic at the airport.

“911 from C5, receives a call about detonations of a firearm in Terminal 3 of the Cancun Airport, all the authorities on the scene, at the moment there are no injuries, percussion cartridges or further indications that confirm the fact. It is still being verified, ”reads his Twitter account.

After a few moments of confusion, the Quintana Roo Prosecutor’s Office reported at first that the version that it was a shooting was not confirmed, but that a machine to collect luggage possibly exploded. “We are waiting for confirmation from the National Guard,” said state prosecutor Óscar Montes de Oca in an interview with Milenio. On the other hand, the official has ruled out that there is danger in the air station and has ensured that there are no injured people in the terminal.

Fernando Mora, Director of Social Communication of the Government of Quintana Roo, later reported that what was heard at the Cancun Airport was not gunshots, but that it was about baggage distribution bands that burst.

For his part, the prosecutor of Quintana Roo, Óscar Montes de Oca, assured that “there are no ballistic signs” that confirm a shooting in Terminal 3 of the Cancun Airport.

The Quintana Roo authorities issued a statement clarifying the facts: “It was a false alarm caused by the misunderstanding of some users when they heard a shrill noise produced by the fall of 3 totem-type signs of approximately 50 kilos each when they were inadvertently pushed by another user rushing to their gate.” The response of the passengers, in any case, caused “the activation of the emergency and evacuation protocols of Terminal 3”.

There were no shots fired at Cancun Airport: National Guard

The National Guard said there were no shots fired Monday at Cancun’s international airport after rumblings caused frightened tourists to flee one of the terminals, apparently caused by falling signs. 

The tourist corridor of the Rivera Maya has accumulated in recent months a trail of events related to organized crime. The general figures of murders have dropped slightly in the last two years while the media coups of the narco have been repeated more than in other times. This time, the focus has shifted from Cancun, the matrix of tourism development in the area, to the corridor that ends in Tulum to the south, the last pearl of the Riviera Maya.


According to official figures, in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo there have been 75 intentional homicides so far this year.

The state, Mexico’s tourist hub for the Riviera Maya and Cancun, began the year with several events that put the country on alert.

In mid-January, a shooting occurred inside a hotel located in Playa del Carmen, belonging to the well-known Xcaret chain, leaving two Canadians dead and one injured, presumably involved in drug trafficking.

And a week later, Argentine Federico Mazzoni, who was the manager of a popular establishment in Playa del Carmen, was shot to death.

Months earlier, in October, a shooting at a restaurant in the resort of Tulum – one of the most fashionable places in the Caribbean – left two foreign tourists dead and three others wounded.

Mexico registered 33,308 homicides in 2021 after the two most violent years in its history, under the mandate of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with 34,690 murder victims in 2019 and 34,554 in 2020.

Earlier, the U.S. embassy to Mexico said it was aware of reports of a “security incident” at the airport and urged people to heed local authorities and monitor news for updates.

“U.S. citizens should contact loved ones directly or check-in on social media,” it said on Twitter.

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