A suspicious suitcase left unattended on a sidewalk outside Bellingham International Airport led to a brief evacuation Sunday, Oct. 9, after screeners got a “positive swab for explosives.”
Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said the swabs are preliminary swabs that have a reaction to an array of chemicals. If any one of those chemicals were present, then a reaction would have occurred.
Police sent a bomb squad to investigate the medium-sized black suitcase that was found in the passenger pickup area at about 3:30 p.m. About 300 passengers in the airport were evacuated and a bomb robot was used to X-ray the suitcase. It was empty.
The airport resumed normal operations after about two hours. Passengers were allowed back into the pre-screening and check-in areas, though several flights were delayed.
Vander Yacht said police believe the incident was an error in someone’s judgment “that was very irresponsible and caused a lot of people an inconvenience.”