Eight Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees — working at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) — were taken to a local hospital after a passenger”s flashlight batteries exploded while a piece of luggage was being examined at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at 8:06 a.m. Saturday, September 4th, according to LAX officials.
The incident is not believed to be terrorist-related and the Tokyo-bound passenger was not arrested, said LAX officials.
Another incident occurred the same day at 7:22 a.m. when a passenger apparently bypassed security at United Airlines Terminal 8 by running up a stairway from the lower level baggage claim area to the departure level.
This breach of security resulted in an evacuation of Terminals 6, 7 and 8, which are connected.
The evacuation allowed officials to conduct a security sweep of the terminals and re-screen passengers.
The passenger who touched off the incident was not found.
The combination of the two incidents resulted in law enforcement officials ordering closure of the central terminal area roadways at 8:22 a.m.
The roadways were reopened to vehicular traffic at about 11:30 a.m.
Six flights were canceled and 250 flights delayed because of the Saturday morning incidents, said Harold Johnson, LAX media relations representative.
Two TSA employees were injured due to the minor explosion, said Johnson.
ìSix employees complained of ringing ears,î said Johnson.
ìThere was a loud pop,î he said.
Airport officials believe the flashlight batteries had released a gas in the sealed plastic container, and this led to the explosion.
LAX operations returned to normal at around 11:30 a.m., according to LAX officials.
Saturday was the second day of the four-day Labor Day holiday, during which 785,000 passengers were expected to arrive and depart at LAX.
Airport officials said Saturday morning was the lightest travel day of the four days.