Rochester airport closed for 3 hours after suspicious item found

The item was in luggage for a flight bound to Chicago.

Star Tribune
Last update: March 30, 2011 – 9:07 PM

Rochester International Airport was shut down for nearly three hours Wednesday while authorities investigated a suspicious item found in luggage bound for Chicago.

The Minneapolis bomb squad determined the item wasn’t dangerous, and airport operations resumed about 7 p.m., airport manager Steve Leqve said.
Neither Leqve nor a Rochester police lieutenant knew Wednesday night what had been found. Leqve said the discovery came shortly after 4 p.m. while passengers were being screened for the Chicago flight.

Transportation Security Administration officials said the passenger who checked the bag was located and interviewed by TSA officials and other law enforcement officers. Later, the TSA referred questions about the passenger’s status to local police. Rochester police Lt. Jeff Stilwell said that while he was aware that federal authorities spoke with the passenger, he did not know the outcome of those discussions.
Leqve said about 40 people had been scheduled to leave Rochester for Chicago, and that while authorities investigated, the passengers were taken to a separate building, where they were given food and water. The evacuation procedures “went quite well,” he said.
Leqve did not know at 7:40 p.m. if or when the Chicago flight departed.

At 8:30 p.m., the airport’s website showed no additional departures until Thursday morning. Two flights were scheduled to arrive Wednesday night from Minneapolis. One flight was delayed, while another was “on time” for a 10:18 p.m. arrival.
ANTHONY LONETREE AND mary lynn smith


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