Passenger's breach of BWI security causes 45-minute delay for travelers

April 04, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Two piers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport were evacuated yesterday morning after a female passenger failed to stop for a secondary screening after setting off a metal detector, authorities said.

The woman was directed to step aside for a second screening but continued walking and disappeared into the crowd about 10:50 a.m., said Chris Rhatigan, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration.

After security employees could not find the woman in the area by the gate, all passengers and employees - including those in the restaurants and shops - were cleared from piers B and C, which are connected by a sky bridge. Bomb-sniffing dogs were used to check the concourses for explosives, as law enforcement officers looked for dangerous objects and the woman, whose photograph was obtained from surveillance tapes. After about 45 minutes, the piers were deemed safe and passengers were screened and readmitted.

As of yesterday afternoon, the woman had not been found, but security workers were continuing to search for her for questioning.

The incident delayed three flights, Rhatigan said, and affected hundreds of passengers.

"We have procedures in place, we have layers of security," Rhatigan said. "In this instance, we needed to call in our security level of the last resort: to clear the terminal and bring in our security teams and K-9 units."

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