Scoutmasters who prepare Boy Scout members for contemporary society’s complexities might want to refer them to the TSA’s “what can I bring link” as a part of required training. That’s because a novelty grenade in a Boy Scout’s carry-on bag caused a bit of a scare at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston Thursday morning before a bomb squad determined it wasn’t the real thing. NBC4i reports that the replica grenade belonged to a 17-year-old Boy Scout who had placed it in his carry-on bag.
TSA agents came across the faux grenade during a routine screening at the security checkpoint. Not knowing if it was the real deal or not, the agents promptly shut down the area and cleared everyone out immediately.
Associated Press journalist John L. Mone was in line at the security checkpoint when the commotion ensued. He said that TSA agents found the item and raised the alarm at 4:35 a.m. As he and his wife were waiting to drop their bags into the X-ray machine and pass through the detector, he heard a TSA agent scream.
“Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!”
Mone told reporters that the crowd was confused and looking around as they were quickly ushered out of the security checkpoint area by airport personnel.
The bomb squad arrived and evaluated the suspicious device. The inconvenienced passengers were then allowed to approach the checkpoint again once the squad determined it was harmless.
The early-morning episode created a backlog of nearly a thousand people destined to go through airport security. Bill Begley, who is the Houston Airport System spokesman, later said that several Southwest flights had been held up because of the episode.
Also, according to the website, FlightAware, once the security checkpoints were reopened, travelers could expect “delays of an hour or more for flights arriving and departing the airport.”
The extra precautions taken by William P. Hobby Airport echo a previous scare pertaining to an explosive when police detained a passenger a day earlier at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The passenger, who appeared impatient, had made inappropriate comments about explosives in a bag, reports ABC13.
According to Time, Bill Begley said that because of the unidentified passenger’s comment, the decision was made to close the international terminal for nearly an hour while the bomb squad assessed the situation. No flights were delayed by that incident.
On the lighter side, social media users had a little bit of fun with the grenade debacle.
The Boy Scout that brought the fake grenade through security was probably as surprised as everybody else (except maybe his parents) when the incident happened. That being said, perhaps a note about objects that look like forbidden things on the “what can I bring” list causing potential problems might be added as an afterthought to the web page, especially when it comes to explosive devices.