A terminal was partially evacuated and six flights were delayed after a sprinkler pipe thought to be a suspicious item was found packed inside checked luggage at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Thursday morning, May 17th, airport officials said.
The incident occurred less than a day after a different terminal at LAX was partially evacuated Wednesday night, May 16th, after two replica mortar shells were found inside a checked bag.
Airport spokesman Marshall Lowe said the May 17th incident happened in Terminal 1 at 11:33 a.m., when airport police were notified of a suspicious item that was found in a checked bag as it passed through a federal screening machine.
A bomb squad unit, as well as Los Angeles Police Department and federal law enforcement officers were called to the scene.
Officials diverted traffic on the upper level roadway of Terminal 1 to the lower level and passengers were advised to use the lower level, as police searched for the owner of the bag, Lowe said.
The ticketing lobby and screening areas of the terminal were evacuated and passengers were moved curbside during the investigation, Lowe said.
Two arriving Southwest Airlines flights were held at the west end of the airfield instead of docking at the terminal as a precaution during the incident, he said. As a result of the incident, three Southwest flights and three US Air flights, totaling about 600 passengers, were delayed, Lowe said.
Officials determined that the suspicious item packed inside the luggage was a sprinkler pipe that belonged to the managing partner of a sprinkler company, Lowe said.
The incident ended at 12:50 p.m. and passengers were allowed back inside the terminal at 1 p.m.
In the incident Wednesday, May 16th, airport police were called to the upper level of Terminal 2 at 9:15 p.m. regarding suspicious items that were found inside checked baggage as it passed through a federal security screening machine, airport spokeswoman Treva Miller said.
Officials partially evacuated the ticketing and screening areas of Terminal 2 and passengers and employees were moved curbside on the upper level during the investigation. The upper level roadway was temporarily closed and traffic was diverted to the roadway on the lower level of the terminal, which remained open during the incident, Miller said.
The suspicious items inside the bag were determined to be two replica mortar shells. Police located the owners of the bag who said they bought the items at a novelty shop, Miller said.
The incident ended at 10:33 p.m., when the screening area and upper level roadway was reopened at Terminal 2.
No flights were delayed due to the incident.