CHICAGO (CBS) — The mass shooting in Las Vegas late Sunday night prompted McCarran International Airport to halt all flights for a few hours, and many travelers who came to Chicago on delayed flights said they were shocked to learn how deadly the shooting turned out to be.
Angel Rodriguez and his wife spent the weekend in Las Vegas to celebrate her birthday. They got on an airport shuttle Sunday night right before the mass shooting. They weren’t near Mandalay Bay, but the driver was heading in that direction to pick up one other passenger.
As they were on their way, they got a call.
“When we got to the airport, they shut down the airport, so everything was shut down,” he said. “The flight got delayed. We got in there, everybody was sleeping all over the airport. I mean, a lot of flights were cancelled, were stopped. Planes were still up in the air. They won’t let them land.”
When the flight left Las Vegas, the reported death toll from the shooting was only two; by the time they landed, and their phones turned on again, the death toll was more than 50.
Rodriguez said he was in shock when he turned on his phone and read the headlines after landing in Chicago.
Geoff Burroughs said he could see the Mandalay Bay Resort from the McCarran International Airport gate as he was waiting to fly to Chicago. His flight was delayed more than three hours after the shooting.
Burroughs said he heard about the shooting on the news, but couldn’t see anything that was taking place on the Las Vegas Strip after the shooting; just emergency vehicles passing the airport through the night.
“Insane luck; we’re just so grateful to have been out of there when it happened, and thoughts and prayers go out to everybody who wasn’t as lucky as us,” he said.
Ben Goldschmidt, who also flew into Chicago from Las Vegas early Monday, said he expected there would be more chatter about the massacre on the plane, but the entire flight was quiet.
“It was actually pretty silent on the plane. I was a little surprised by that, [but] it was a red eye,” he said.
Goldschmidt said he feels “insanely lucky and thankful to be alive.”
“That could have easily been me,” he said.