Minneapolis St. Paul Airport on lockdown over bomb alert -- UPDATED
UPDATE: It turns out the bag was not in-bound passenger luggage, as had been previously reported, but rather the "end bag" the crew uses to mark the end on the carousel, according to airport spokesman Pat Hogan. So the suspicious bag was not a passenger's--it belonged to MSP airport. This is an embarassing revelation that will likely lead to further recrimination and questions about the competency of airport security at MSP.
Business is returning to normal after a suspicious bag put the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport on lockdown.
"Everything's been cleared and no hazardous material has been found," says Melissa Slovronski, public information officer from MSP. "They're in the midst of taking down barriers."
The ticketing and baggage claim areas have reopened, but Slovronski expected it to take longer for traffic on the roads to return to normal, but the bomb threat has lifted.
"We were able to determine it was clear, a false alarm if you will," says Mark Stehlik, spokesman for the Bloomington Police.
The situation began at approximately 2 p.m. when a police dog "hit on" a piece of checked luggage by sitting down in front of it, Slovronski explained. "That indicated it had sniffed some sort of explosive material."
In response, MSP shut down the ticketing level and evacuated the baggage terminal of Lindbergh, including the skyways.
"Flights are still going in and out--at least they were when I checked 3 minutes ago," Slovronski offered.
The Bloomington Police bomb squad was summoned to the scene and had been working for about half an hour as of 3:00. Anyone attempting to visit Lindbergh to pick up passengers was directed to the East Upper Roadway, which was soon jam packed.
"If you don't have to come here, don't," Slovronski advised.
Slovronski advised travelers to check airline websites for additional information about flights scheduled to arrive or depart from Lindbergh. A Northwest Airlines spokeswoman said she had no additional information on the situation, and no comment.