Security Scare Evacuates Akron-Canton Airport

A computer keyboard and watch in a piece of luggage left unattended Wednesday afternoon at a security checkpoint at Akron-Canton Airport forced an hourlong evacuation of the terminal.

The incident began when airport security screeners discovered an abandoned piece of luggage around 4 p.m.

The Transportation Security Administration took an X-ray of the bag and discovered what appeared to be a clock and a piece of electronics, later determined to be a keyboard.

Because the contents of the abandoned bag appeared suspicious, security evacuated the terminal so the Summit County Sheriff's Office bomb squad could remove the bag and destroy it with a water cannon.

''TSA evacuated (everyone) for safety,'' said Summit County sheriff's Commander Rick Dodds. ''Everyone did the job that they were supposed to.''

The owner of the luggage was never found.

The closure delayed the arrival and departure of several flights and frayed the nerves of about 400 passengers, who were forced to wait outside in the rain and later in a hangar before the terminal reopened.

Airport officials said the evacuation affected about 20 flights.

Kristie Van Auken, the airport's director of marketing and communications, said she couldn't recall another time that the airport was evacuated because of a suspicious package.

For Akron's Kelly and Steve Bergey, the evacuation put a trip to Orlando to visit family on hold.

The couple and their three young children were about to grab a bite to eat in the terminal when they were ushered outside shortly after 4 p.m.

''I was kind of dumbfounded,'' Kelly Bergey said.

The family took shelter under a tree during a downpour before airport officials allowed passengers into a hangar.

''They are going to have a mess in there when they open (the terminal) back up,'' Kelly Bergey said of the long lines of passengers that would have to be rescreened by airport security.

At 5:35 p.m., airport Director Fred Krum told passengers that the bomb squad was going to destroy the bag as a precaution.

Ten minutes later, a loud bang startled passengers and the airport was reopened.

Since all roads leading to the airport were closed during the evacuation, traffic in and around Interstate 77 also backed up.

It was the second incident involving a suspicious package in two days at a Northeast Ohio airport.

A man was stopped Tuesday afternoon at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport after security found suspicious material inside his luggage.

That package turned out to be a battery connected to a clock.