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Irate voicemail leads to airport closure

South Alabama Regional Airport was temporarily closed Thursday after an irate message gave reason for concern.

SARA executive director Jed Blackwell said that at 8 a.m., Thursday morning, airport management learned of an irate voicemail message left during the overnight hours at its main terminal facility.

“The nature of the message was related to individual aircraft and included extremely foul language,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell immediately notified the Covington County Sheriff’s office and appropriate state and federal officials.

“In the interest of public safety and the safety of airport employees, airport management immediately made the decision to close the airport until the situation could be fully investigated,” he said.

Blackwell said that at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, following a thorough investigation and the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of an individual, the airport was reopened to the public.

Blackwell said the details of the investigation are being handled by the CCSO.

“Anytime we receive an irate phone call regarding air traffic and the caller uses threatening and foul language, we have a duty to investigate it and treat it as a threat,” he said. “We take this type of behavior very seriously. No one can call our airport or any airport and act in this manner. We will take all appropriate actions to assure that our airport and community are safe.”