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'Explosive device' inside bag shuts down Anchorage airport security

Ben Anderson

The security screening checkpoint at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was shut down Sunday afternoon after a possible explosive device was discovered inside a passenger's bag, according to airport manager John Parrott.

According to Jesse Davis, chief of airport police, the suspicious device was discovered just before 2 p.m. Sunday, and security screening resumed shortly before 4 p.m.

"Someone showed up with what appeared to be an explosive device at passenger screening," Parrott said, adding that screening was temporarily closed and a perimeter established. He said that while the situation was ongoing, the airport was actively working with airlines in order to continue facilitating aircraft arrivals and working on alternate routes to deplane passengers.

Davis said that the passenger claimed that the bag in question contained an "avalanche device," but it actually appeared to be "a device similar to a pipe bomb."

"We got a call for an avalanche device at the screening point" at about 1:55 p.m., Davis said. "We determined it was an explosive device."

The device was removed by the citywide Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit, and operations were reportedly allowed to resume at the security checkpoint. The suspect was taken into custody for questioning.

"(The passenger) is currently being held by the FBI, and the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) is also interested in discussing it with him," Davis said. 

Any criminal charges would have to be determined by those agencies, Davis said.

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com.