Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

TIA blames lockdown on missing explosives training aid

Travelers make their way toward Airside C at Tampa International Airport. Because of the security alert, eight flights were delayed and 10 people missed their flights.


Travelers make their way toward Airside C at Tampa International Airport. Because of the security alert, eight flights were delayed and 10 people missed their flights.

TAMPA — Tampa International Airport's Airside C seemed to be under siege Wednesday afternoon. Evacuation orders spilled out of intercoms, sending 1,000 passengers to the entrance. Staff at Chili's and Starbucks hurriedly pulled down their gates, and security officers searched even the refrigerators.

More than two hours passed before airport officials explained: They'd lost, then found, a canine training aid laced with explosives.

At about 12:50 p.m., officials realized that a training aid with "minute amounts" of explosive materials was missing in Airside C, said Ed Cooley, senior director for the airport's operations and public safety.

Beyond that, he parted with few details. Had someone moved the aid? Cooley said he didn't know. Did a dog or a trainer lose track? He said the airport will need to investigate. He didn't say where the item was ultimately found.

Eight flights were delayed, and 10 people missed their flights, Cooley said. No one was detained or questioned, he said.

He said the device isn't dangerous but that airport police and the Transportation Security Administration decided to evacuate the terminal "in an overabundance of caution."

The airport's police chief, Ciro Dominguez, said this has never happened before.

"We did err," he said. "It was a training error, and in the best interest of the community and our passengers, we followed protocol."

Tina Valdez, 43, said she was getting ready to board a flight home to Albuquerque when she heard the announcement to move toward the entrance.

Valdez said she wasn't nervous until she noticed employees in nearby restaurants rushing to shut the front gates. "They were hustling," she said.

"They didn't say anything. They just said clear the terminals, and we cleared the terminals."

Another passenger, 45-year-old Gerald Mullikin, of Tampa, said that on his way out, he noticed TSA officials looking through terminal restaurant refrigerators.

He wasn't scared, but said he was dreading another wait in the long security line. "They're herding them like cattle."

Times staff writer Kim Wilmath contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

TIA blames lockdown on missing explosives training aid 04/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  3. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  4. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  5. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.