An air-traffic controller’s quick thinking kept thousands of travelers out of harm’s way. Christina Stewart was caught in the crossfire during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 1 October.
"We're standing there and (Stephen Paddock is) shooting so everybody starts ducking down. We're all crouching and we're listening to the gun shots and when they stopped, people started to run."
Christina said she and her fiance Dale waited just a moment so they wouldn’t get trampled. Then they took off.
"I start to yell at him, ‘I have to call work. I have to call, I have to warn them. I have to call!’"
While ducking behind a cinderblock building, shots still ringing out, Christina said "I’m trying to dial the phone. It’s just I can't."
Finally she calmed down enough to dial the control tower and gets ahold of a coworker, she said.
"I scream at him and I say, ‘Miguel, it’s Christina.’ I believe it was something like, ‘There’s an active shooter. You need to stop the helicopters. Keep them away from the Strip. Try not to land on the 19s and don’t depart to the 6 right now."
The 19s are runways parallel to the Strip, running right by Mandalay Bay. As for departures: "We depart on this particular night it would take you out to the west so the aircraft would have been in a low climbing past the Mandalay Bay."
Air traffic specialist Anthony Bogert was working that night when Christina’s call came through. He also got a call about people on the runways, fleeing from gunfire and got straight to work.
"Her call was critical and it came at a critical time," Bogert said. "We knew we were stopping departures and we knew we were putting helicopters on an other than standard route from where they usually fly."
All in all around 120 planes were forced to land at other airports, staying safe during a critical time. After notifying her coworkers Christina went straight from the festival to work to help out.
Copyright 2017 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.