Tornado touches down near Denver airport

DENVER, Colo. - A confirmed tornado touched down near Denver International Airport Tuesday afternoon, sending travelers scrambling to get into tornado shelters and stunned passengers on airplanes and in vehicles taking pictures of the astounding sight.

The tornado was described as moving northeast at 5 miles per hour before it lifted, weakened and then dissipated, according to KMGH Photographer Cory Reppenhegen.

No injuries or damage were reported.

The all-clear was sounded at the airport around 2:45 p.m. and all tornado warnings for the area have been expired.

"We're very thankful all the passengers listened to the emergency announcements.  Employees took it seriously and employees helped passengers ...  We stuck to our emergency plan," said DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale.

Travelers at DIA were instructed to seek shelter in designated areas such as the restrooms, stairwells, and basement,  leaving the concourse eerily empty for about 30 minutes.

Ashley Picillo, who was flying out to Seattle, said she was eating lunch when announcements began.

"We were very quickly escorted into the shelters. A lot of people were brought into bathrooms. We were actually brought into a lower level stairwell," Picillo said.  "They brought water in for people, did a really nice job keeping everyone informed."

Members of the Colorado Rapids team were already boarded on a plane when they were taken off the plane and escorted to the basement and bathrooms.

A Frontier spokeswoman said all Frontier aircraft that were loaded were off loaded and all moved to safe areas in the terminal and employees did the same.

The customer relations and service offices located near the airport also evacuated to safe areas as well, but they are now back to work online and on the phone, said  Frontier spokeswoman Kate O'Malley.

The initial reports of a funnel were reported around 2:18 p.m.

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