ShareThis Page

Forgotten backpack locks down Pittsburgh airport

| Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011

A book on the history of the atomic bomb set off a chain reaction that put the Pittsburgh International Airport on lockdown last night.

A traveler who took a Port Authority bus from the airport to Oakland left his bag on the bus, Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

The bus returned to the airport with the bag in it, and someone who looked inside saw the book, Ritchie said.

"All they saw was a book that had something to do with bombs," Ritchie said. "You really can't mess around with that kind of thing. You have to let the authorities step in and take a look. That's when you trigger the sequence of safety measures that are in place now."

Port Authority police, Allegheny County police, the county bomb squad and the FBI all responded. Both security checkpoints and the train were shut down for about an hour as a precaution, airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said.

The incident began about 10:30 p.m. and was cleared by midnight, she said. There weren't any outbound passengers at the time, but inbound passengers had to be bused to the landslide terminal.

Meanwhile, the traveler realized he left his bag and flagged down another bus in Oakland and eventually spoke with authorities, Ritchie said.

"Ultimately, it turned out to be a tired traveler who inadvertently left his bag there," Ritchie said. "There was nothing malicious about it."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.