TSA Evacuates Houston Airport’s Security Line Over Toy Grenade: ‘Passenger Safety Is ALWAYS #1’

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A security checkpoint at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport was evacuated on Thursday morning after a “suspicious device” was found during a screening. However, the potential threat turned out to be a “novelty grenade.”

Hobby Airport announced on Twitter just after 5 a.m. local time that “the TSA security line has been closed due to a suspicious device being found during screening.”

Houston Airport System spokesman Bill Begley told the Associated Press that a bomb squad determined the item was a “novelty grenade.”

The Houston Airport System could not be immediately reached by PEOPLE for further comment.

AP journalist John L. Mone was in the security line when the discovery was made around 3:45 a.m.

“My wife and I were waiting to drop our bags into the X-ray machine and go through the detector, and I heard a TSA agent scream, ‘Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!’ ” he explained. “Everyone was looking around, confused, and people were ordered to ‘Clear out now!’ ”

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At 5:30 a.m., Hobby Airport’s Twitter account announced that security lines had reopened.

“Device has been removed, and TSA is re-opening the checkpoint and working to resume passenger screening,” they announced. “Expect some delays through security, and as always check with your carrier to see if your flight has been impacted.”

They added, “Huge shoutout to @TSA and @houstonpolice for handling this like pros. Passenger safety is ALWAYS #1, and this AM they helped us prove that.”

Several flights were delayed due to the incident. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline for specific delays.

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