Just before 10 p.m. PDT Monday, flight status boards at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the nation's busiest air travel hubs, instructed passengers to evacuate.
Law enforcement sources initially told the Los Angeles Times and CBS Los Angeles they were searching for the hacker(s) responsible.
At some point after the initial reports of hacking, the airport released a statement explaining that the "hack" was actually an accidental error.
"An erroneous emergency terminal evacuation notice was displayed for a few minutes," the statement explains, "after an airline contractor accidentally activated the message. No additional notification measures (such as an audible alarm) were activated and there were no reports of anyone leaving the terminal."
The airport's statement says the message was first displayed around 9:47 p.m. and that it was removed at 9:54 p.m.
"After investigating what caused the erroneous posting, LAX Airport Ops and Information Technology staffers reported that an airline contract employee, who is authorized to access the display system, was programming airline check-in information into a set of monitors for a particular flight when he accidentally activated the pre-programmed emergency terminal evacuation message," the statement says. "The airport's Information Technology staff will be looking at ways to ensure this accident does not happen again in the future."
Only passengers at the nine-terminal airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal saw the message.