Bahamasair passenger causes security scare at MIA
A passenger on a Bahamasair flight from The Bahamas caused a shutdown of a section of concourse G at Miami International Airport yesterday when a bomb-sniffing dog trained its senses on that person’s carry-on luggage, authorities said.
According to Transportation Safety Administration(TSA)spokesperson, Sari Koshetz, a safe zone was immediately established around the suspicious luggage around 9:50 a.m., as Miami Dade Police’s bomb squad teams took control of the bag.
An hour later the bomb squad declared that no explosives were found in the bag and the terminal was reopened.
“It was determined the bag had contained chemicals the K9 was trained to locate, but no explosives or threats were found in the bag today,”said Koshetz.”The dog was doing what it was trained to do-to keep the public safe.”
It is not known whether the individual held was Bahamian or if that person was released following the all clear by the bomb squad.
It is also not known exactly where in The Bahamas the flight originated. Both Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace and Director General of Tourism David Johnson said last evening that they had not heard of the incident.
Calls to Bahamasair for information were not returned up to press time. And Koshetz revealed that TSA, for privacy reasons, does not release specifics on individuals who are stopped and searched.
General Manager of the Airport Authority Milo Butler said what could now seem like a lapse in Bahamas airport security is not, as this country’s security is regulated by TSA.
According to Butler, local airport security employees are trained by TSA and equipment used by them is up to the TSA’s standard.
He said because The Bahamas is a sovereign nation, no TSA officers are stationed here, however he asserted that both the local and US-based security entities are still inextricably linked.
“We are under their auspices,”said Butler.”We work to the TSA standard.”
Butler called yesterday’s incident at Miami International a false positive. He explained that if there is a suspicion of a threat security officials have to go through the protocol as if the threat were real.
The US heightened its security protocols at airports following the deadly 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, where terrorists used fully fueled airplanes as bombs.
TSA was created in the wake of that tragedy, which continues to revolutionize security enforcement in airports.
Yesterday’s K9-led discovery took place during joint exercises between Miami Dade police and TSA officers.