Chicago-bound passengers were last flight out of Ft. Lauderdale as shooting began

FOX 32 NEWS - Security was increased Friday at both Chicago airports in light of the attack in Fort Lauderdale.

Chicago police could be seen walking through terminal areas at O’Hare, as well as at arrival and departures. Police say there was no threat to the safety of passengers in Chicago, but they increased patrols as a precaution.

The impact of the mass shooting could be felt at Midway Airport, where passengers narrowly escaped the tragedy. Their flight left just as the shooting happened behind them at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

For those left behind, the shooting as well as the chaos and confusion that led passengers to run again was something out of a nightmare.

"As we were lifting off from the runway, we looked out and there was a huge crowd of people standing on the tarmac. And nobody really knew what was going on,” said Mark D’Ambrosio.

Hundreds were forced outside, seeking shelter from the gunfire and chaos.

Passengers now back in Chicago reflect on how close this could have been them.

"We had no idea and even as the information was coming through, we couldn't believe it, because we were literally just there,” said Matthew Hollingsworth.

The question remains: how safe are our airports?

“This was a passenger with a ticket that had premeditated to commit an act in the airport  system, very hard to stop a passenger who is bringing a firearm into the system legally through the system,” said aviation expert Joe Schwieterman.

Passengers back safely in Chicago are grateful.

“I still get goosebumps thinking about, what would I have done? What would have happened? Thinking of it, that kids aren't coming home, moms and dads aren't coming home for whatever reason. It's a scary thought,” Hollingsworth said.

Travelers can expect to see more officers both inside and patrolling outside of both Chicago airports.

They want to remind people, if you see something suspicious, say something.