All flights were grounded at University Park Airport in Pennsylvania Friday as authorities investigated a suspicious device in a checked bag, forcing about 100 passengers to be bused out of the area and the airport to close until Saturday, officials said.
The airport in State College, located less than five miles from the Penn State University campus, was closed to air traffic and passengers while an explosives device team and local police examined the contents of the bag, which was checked on a flight en route to Chicago, Penn State University Police and Public Safety said in a statement.
The “suspicious” contents were later determined to not be an explosive device, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Marie Powers told CNN late Friday.
The item had been detected by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the airport, according to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. Local police officers and FBI officials were also on site, she said.
“The immediate area was evacuated and a perimeter established,” Farbstein said in a statement, adding bomb technicians would be looking at the bag and its contents.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for the airport “due to security.” The airport will reopen early Saturday morning, police said.
The airport closure took place as Penn State students were gearing up for their Spring Break travel plans next week. Buses from the university came to the airport to transport about 100 passengers to the campus, where they were offered shelter and given food, according to police.
The University Park Airport calls itself “a home town airport with a world of destinations,” according to its Facebook page. It says four airlines – Allegiant, Delta, United, and American airlines – offer regularly scheduled flights to and from major hub cities including Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington/Dulles.
Earlier in the day, the general passenger terminal at the airport was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” police said. There were no incoming or outgoing flights scheduled when the evacuation took place.
The investigation at the airport comes just days after federal agents arrested a Pennsylvania man after he allegedly tried to bring explosives in his suitcase on a flight from Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown to Florida.
Marc Muffley, 40, faces two charges, according to a federal complaint, including possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.
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