It was business as usual at Newark Liberty (N.J.) International Airport on May 8 when a male passenger checked his nine bags. But the quiet did not last long.
Two of the bags contained replica improvised explosive devices, accompanied by inert blasting caps.
"Finding these items demonstrates exactly why TSA is in the airport screening bags and passengers," said Newark FSD Barbara Powell.
Recognizing the threat items, TSO William Lynch immediately notified Supervisory TSO Al Graddy and Transportation Security Manager Thomas Willoughby, local management and law enforcement. Bomb Appraisal Officer Thomas Carroll immediately arrived on the scene, declared the items a threat and ordered an immediate evacuation.
With the possibility of an explosive, authorities evacuated several gate areas, the security checkpoint and the baggage screening area.
Though the incident displaced about a thousand passengers and affected at least 9 flights, the incident reminds TSA employees that a threat item could be detected at any time.
Once cleared by the bomb squad, local TSA worked to repopulate the terminal and rescreen all passengers and employees. The passenger was allowed to continue on his flight.
"Our goal is to keep passengers safe and keep harmful items off planes," said Powell. "Every once in a while it is a fellow passenger who interrupts an otherwise streamlined process. These items never should have been packed."
|Replica improvised explosive devices.
Photo Courtesy of TSA Newark