HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Boy Scout who packed a toy grenade in his carry-on bag caused the shutdown of a security checkpoint at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport Thursday morning, just a day after the international terminal of the city’s other major airport was evacuated due to a bomb scare.
Houston Airport System spokesman Bill Begley said people were allowed to approach the checkpoint again after authorities determined that the suspicious item spotted by a Transportation Security Administration agent was a “novelty grenade.” It’s not clear why the 17-year-old had the item in his bag.
Houston police said the state won’t charge the teen but that he could face a federal fine.
Hobby Airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines and Begley said more than 15 Southwest flights were delayed. The website FlightAware indicated delays of an hour or more for flights arriving and departing the airport immediately after the security checkpoint reopened.
An Associated Press journalist was in the line when a TSA agent raised an alarm at about 4:35 a.m., forcing hundreds of people to move away from the immediate area on both sides of the security checkpoint.
“My wife and I were waiting to drop our bags into the X-ray machine and go through the detector, and I heard a TSA agent scream “Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!” Everyone was looking around, confused, and people were ordered to “Clear out now!” the AP’s John L. Mone said.
About 15 minutes after sending the tweet about the closure the airport said the device had “been removed” and they were working to get everything fully operational again.
The episode created a backlog of at least a thousand people waiting to go through security.
The airport later gave some hints that passengers need to be more vigilant and be aware of what they’re packing in their bags.
Begley said the unidentified passenger’s “inappropriate comment” prompted a bomb squad to close the international terminal for nearly an hour.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)