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Deliberately cut wires near SMF cause internet outage, some flights delayed

Travelers react to internet outage, delays at Sacramento International Airport
Travelers react to internet outage, delays at Sacramento International Airport 02:52

SACRAMENTO – Intentionally cut wires caused an internet outage and flight delays at the Sacramento International Airport on Thursday morning, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office says.

The outage was first reported a little before 6 a.m. and was restored shortly after 11:30 a.m. 

Deputies said the wires that were deliberately cut were in the area of Bayou Way and Power Line Road, which is on the south side of Interstate 5 shortly before the northbound exit to Airport Boulevard. 

"We've restored internet and wireless service to affected customers in the Sacramento International Airport area following a fiber cut which appears to be an act of vandalism or attempted theft. We appreciate the patience of our customers as we worked to make repairs as quickly as possible," AT&T said in a statement obtained by CBS Sacramento.

The wires were reported to have been cut around 1:30 a.m., which is when investigators responded to the area. 

SMF officials initially said Southwest and Delta airlines were impacted by the internet outage, causing delays on those flights out of Sacramento.

Southwest flights continued to depart, despite the outage. Officials later said the outage was not affecting Delta.

All this led to frustration at the airport as long lines snaked around the terminal.

"It's insane. Absolutely insane. AT&T what are you doing," said Jeri White.

"This is the only situation of this kind that I've ever encountered. A system-wide outage? I've never seen that before," said Laura Rambarran. 

Rambarran missed her flight Thursday morning. 

"The line by the time we got here was about an hour and a half. It ended up being two and a half and by the time we got to the front, we missed our flight," she said. 

White took no chances with an afternoon departure. 

"We thankfully caught it on the news and I arrived four hours before my flight," White said. 

Amid inconveniences, there was support for Southwest.

"The airport personnel as well as the Southwest staff have been very supportive, very kind," Rambarran said.

All while the activity was a mile away along Power Line Road.

"When phone and internet from AT&T was cut off to several vendors to the airport. So they sent out crews and determined it was a deliberate act and that's when we got involved," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Amar Gandhi.

"We joke around about we could've driven there by now," White said. 

The sheriff's office said there are cameras set up in the area to monitor the lines. They will be investigating and no information about a suspect is known at this time. 

The FBI is also involved in the investigation. 

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