US Airport evacuated in 'liquid bomb' scare

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

The discovery of a suspect bottle of fluid in a passengers carry-on luggage has prompted the evacuation of Tri-State Airport, located near Huntington, West Virginia.

The bottle was identified by a security screener as a woman passenger attempted to board a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. Since the discovery of an alleged plot to destroy US flights departing from British airports last week using liquid explosives, authorities in the US and UK have banned transportation of liquids in carry-on luggage.

A machine used by security officers to test for the presence of explosives was trigged by two of four bottles carried by the woman. This positive result was subsequently confirmed by a sniffer dog. The bottles reportedly contained drinking water and a face wash with a drop of bleach.

Both bomb sniffing dogs and explosive detecting equipment detect chlorine among other chemicals. Chlorine is the major ingredient in bleach and a common disinfectant.

Airport officials report that the woman, Rima Qayyum, is an American from Jackson West Virginia. She is of Pakistani origin and was travelling on a one way ticket to Charlotte, North Carolina. She is four months pregnant.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Amy von Walter issued the following statements to press. "The bomb squad is on site and the woman is being interviewed by the FBI," "It looks like there were four items containing liquids ... two of those containers tested positive."

The bottles were later found to be harmless and the woman was released.