Mysterious Powder on United Jet was Sugar Substitute

A powdery substance found Monday on the galley floor of a United Airlines flight that had just landed at Eppley Airfield prompted a visit from a hazardous materials team and a nearly 2 1/2-hour delay for passengers.

The hazmat team determined the substance was a sugar substitute, said Joe Mancuso, public information officer for the Omaha Fire Department. The sweetener was found on the floor of the galley, he said, but flight attendants couldn't explain how it got there.

The Airbus 319 had landed about 12:20 p.m. with 115 passengers and five crew members. The powder was found a short time later, said Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United Airlines.

The plane was moved away from the terminal, and passengers remained in their seats while the hazmat crew worked, McCarthy said.

The Omaha and Eppley Fire Departments responded. After the substance was found to be harmless, passengers were allowed off the plane about 2:45 p.m.

-- Stacie Hamel

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