HOUSTON – A toy hand grenade in a passenger’s bag forced the shutdown of a security against Houston William P. Hobby Airport Thursday morning, just a day after the international terminal of the city’s other major airport is evacuated because of a bomb scare.
The Houston Airport System spokesman Bill Begley said that the people were allowed to approach the checkpoint again after a bomb squad determined that the suspicious item spotted by a Transportation Security Administration agent was a “novelty grenade.”
Hobby Airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines. The website FlightAware indicated delays of an hour or more for flights that arrive and depart at the airport immediately after the security checkpoint was reopened.
An Associated Press journalist was in the line when a TSA agent raised the alarm to 4:35 hours, allowing hundreds of people to move away from the immediate vicinity on both sides of the security.
“My wife and I were waiting to drop our bags in the X-ray machine and go through the detector, and I heard a TSA agent yell” Quit, quit, quit!’ Everyone looked around, confused, and the people were instructed to be ‘Clearly now!'” the AP’s John L. Mone said.
The explosives scare, only a day after the police detained “an impatient traveller,” who made comments about explosives in a bag in Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport. Begley said that unknown passenger “inappropriate response” prompted a bomb squad to close the international terminal for almost an hour.
The episode created a backlog of at least a thousand people waiting to go through security.
Begley emphasized that, especially during the busy summer travel season, anyone with any doubt about what can be carried on a plane should check the TSA’s “what can I bring? the website before they are packing their bags.