Pennsylvania Airport Closed After Suspicious Package Is Found in Checked Bag


About 100 people were evacuated on Friday night from a small airport in Pennsylvania after a suspicious package was detected in checked luggage on a flight bound for Chicago, the second such episode in days after a similar evacuation at another small airport.

The passenger terminal at the University Park Airport in State College, Pa., was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution” around 6:30 p.m. after a suspicious item was detected by airport security, the Penn State University Police and Public Safety Department said on Twitter.

Law enforcement officials and an explosives device team arrived at the airport to inspect the checked bag, while about 100 passengers were taken to Penn State University nearby to take shelter, the police said. The airport was closed to passengers and flights.

State College, which is about 135 miles east of Pittsburgh, is home to Penn State.

Lisa Farbstein, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman, said the police, bomb technicians and F.B.I. officials were going to examine the bag.

The airport was closed and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop while the checked bag was being inspected. It was unclear which Chicago airport the checked bag was headed for.

The evacuation came just days after a 40-year-old man was arrested on federal charges after checking a suitcase containing an explosive for a flight to Florida from the Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa.

The authorities said Marc Muffley, of Lansford, Pa., checked a bag at the Lehigh Valley International Airport on Monday that was flagged by an alarm system. After going through security screening at the airport, the authorities said Mr. Muffley left the airport five minutes after being asked to report to the security desk.

According to a criminal complaint, the explosive found in Mr. Muffley’s checked bag was about three inches in diameter and made of commercial grade fireworks powder and flash powder.

He was charged with 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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