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Cosmetics Bag Triggers Airport Alert in Ontario

Passengers are evacuated and flights delayed over fears of an explosive device.

September 04, 2004|Sandra Murillo | Times Staff Writer

Hundreds of passengers were evacuated from a terminal at Ontario International Airport and dozens of flights were grounded Friday when cosmetics in a carry-on bag activated an explosives-detection device, authorities said.

The airport's Terminal 4 was evacuated at 11:46 a.m. and a person held for questioning when security personnel found a suspicious bag, said Maria Fermin, an airport spokeswoman.

Flights were delayed until 2 p.m., when the Ontario Police Department's bomb squad determined that the bag contained only makeup.

Neither Fermin nor police would explain why the makeup triggered the device, which is designed to detect traces of explosives.

Some passengers said they were irritated by the delay but were resigned to security precautions.

Ralston Ticsay, 36, was waiting to fly from Las Vegas to Ontario when he was told that the flight would be delayed because of a security breach in Ontario. When his flight was finally cleared and he arrived in Ontario, Ticsay said he couldn't believe the "breach" was a bag of cosmetics.

"I missed a round of golf for that?" Ticsay said. "I guess we've all got to make adjustments for security concerns. It could have been worse."

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