TSA discovers explosive in luggage at JWA

A passenger whose luggage contained an illegal explosive and artillery fuses caused evacuations at parts of John Wayne Airport on Tuesday afternoon, according to law enforcement and airport officials.

The unidentified person was trying to catch a 3:18 p.m. flight to Denver when Transportation Security Administration screeners found the suspicious items in his bag, JWA spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said in an email.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad responded to Terminal C about 2:30 p.m. and evacuated Gate 21 and a nearby baggage screening area, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

Wedge said deputies found in the bag three military artillery fuses and a sting ball grenade — a less-than-lethal explosive that shoots out rubber projectiles.

“These are illegal and the person is in custody,” she said.

Deputies pulled everyone off the plane that the passenger was scheduled to take — Frontier Flight 264 — to make sure it was safe, Wedge said.

They also inspected and cleared another bag in the possession of the passenger, she said.

By 4 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department announced on Twitter that the evacuations had been lifted.

Details on any delays at the airport were not immediately available.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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