Suspicious bag left at airport contained electrical equipment - WNEM TV 5

Suspicious bag left at airport contained electrical equipment

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
Source: WNEM Source: WNEM
A Delta flight from Atlanta landed during the incident. A Delta flight from Atlanta landed during the incident.

Bishop International Airport has re-opened after a suspicious bag forced an evacuation on Thursday.

About 200 people, including employees, were evacuated from the Flint airport after an "unattended" bag was found about 10 a.m. near the gift shop.

State, federal and local police investigated. After completing a second sweep of the terminal they decided to re-open the airport just after 1 p.m.

Officials confirmed the bag contained electrical equipment and wires, and believe it was accidentally left behind by a passenger.

Passengers who were in the terminal or waiting to depart were sent to a nearby rental car lot during the initial evacuation.

TV5 spoke with former Flint City councilman Matt Schlinker who was stuck on the tarmac during the incident. He said everyone on his Delta plane was in good shape and were just waiting for word on when they could de-plane.

Listen to live interview with passenger sitting on tarmac

Britt Huey spent nearly three hours on a 50 person aircraft operated by American Airlines. He knew little about what was going on.

"That there was something going on at the terminal. We figured out through social media and they couldn't give us a time," Huey said.

Huey wasn't alone. Delta had a 150 passenger plane in the same situation.

The airport authority said someone rushing to their flight left an unattended bag near a gift shop prompting the evacuation.

"All we know that was inside was electronics equipment and miscellaneous wires," said Craig Williams, with the airport authority.

The authority couldn't make out what was inside so it aired on the side of caution.

"That's why we called in more resources just to double check," Williams said.

A passenger was taken in for questioning while bomb-sniffing dogs searched the area.

Shelley Norman knew something wasn't right when she stopped by the airport to pick up her daughter who was flying in from South Carolina.

"We went to pull in and there was police there and they wouldn't let us in. They wouldn't tell us what it was," Norman said.

It was a scary situation for Norman until her daughter was able to text her from the plane sitting on the tarmac.

She said she is glad authorities took the necessary steps to keep everyone safe. She said she was surprised to hear about an evacuation at a Mid-Michigan airport.

"You don't expect it at a small regional airport," Norman said.

Christopher Miller is chief of the Bishop International Airport Police. It was his decision to order the evacuation. He expected to catch a little flack from people eager to get off the plane, but what he got was much different.

"Everyone seemed to have an amazing attitude. I was very, very happy and pleased that they weren't upset. They actually thanked me for my service and seemed to be in very good spirits," Miller said.

All operations were back to normal as of 2 p.m.

Passengers like Huey were relieved to finally make it home. They said drink accommodations and apologetic employees helped ease the tensions.

Officials are also asking flyers to check with their airline for delays or cancellations. 

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