A Barbadian dentist was at the centre of a security alert at Miami International Airport (MIA) last evening which resulted in 50 flights being delayed, including the American Airlines flight to Barbados.
Several media reports from Miami state that a suspicious passenger carry-on bag triggered the security alert.
The reports indicate that US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials closed two security checkpoints and searched the bag.
American Airlines released a statement confirming that there was an incident but provided few details.
“A passenger on American Airlines flight 2393 from Miami to Barbados was taken into custody by local law enforcement at MIA. We are working closely with law enforcement while ensuring the care of our customers the best we can,” the AA statement said.
Barbados TODAY has been trying to ascertain the identity of the dentist whose dental equipment is said to have triggered the security alarm.
The TSA has admitted that “standard procedures were not adhered to” in the lead up to the incident which turned out to be a false alarm. According to TSA spokesman Mike England, a transportation security officer had stopped the X-ray machine at a checkpoint to conduct further screening of the carry-on bag, but “in the process of transitioning other passengers to an adjacent screening lane, standard procedures were not adhered to and the passenger was allowed to depart the checkpoint and proceed into the terminal.”
England said transportation security officers and law enforcement officers “promptly discovered the oversight and out of an abundance of caution, worked with airport operators to direct gate operations to cease while the passenger was located.”
The Barbadian dentist had boarded the AA flight and the aircraft was evacuated just before takeoff.
“A manual inspection was conducted [on the carry-on bag] and law enforcement officers determined conclusively that neither the passenger nor his carry-on bag posed a threat,” England said.
The FBI later said there was no safety issue or threat related to the incident and that the passenger was cooperative and would not face any charges.