John F. Kennedy International Airport was briefly evacuated on Thursday due to a security scare. A customs agent thought he found a grenade in an international passenger's luggage. The grenade turned out to be a paperweight.
Terminal 4 of JFK airport was evacuated for a brief time when security thought there was an explosive grenade in an traveler's luggage. The terminal was shut down for less than an hour as police inspected the bag. The suspicious item in the bag was designed just like a grenade, but it was nothing more than a paperweight. The traveler from Moscow told police that he got it as a gift from a friend.
By 5:30 p.m., the terminal was reopened to passengers.
While the bag was searched out of an abundance of caution, travelers who didn't know what was going on.
"All the police started coming in and saying 'hold it.' And they said 'stop processing.' They were telling all the guys who work there," a man who had just returned from the Dominican Republic told WBCS 880. Some complained about receiving unclear directions when it came to evacuating.
Passengers on a flight that arrived at the airport after the terminal was closed were forced to stay on the plane, delaying their travel plans.
"They told us, 'Due to security reasons, we are unable to open the doors,' and we ended up staying for one and a half hours on the plane," Atef Glias told NBC 2.
Some passengers were shocked that an item that even looks like a grenade was allowed to fly with the man in the first place.
"Literally, we are strip-searched before we get on the plane, and to see this, unbelievable," one passenger waiting at the airport told NBC.
"Especially after 9/11, nowadays they don't even allow toothpaste. How could they allow something like that?" Pramov Nednoor said.
The passenger that brought the paperweight went through secuirty when he boarded the plane in Moscow. It is not clear how the item was allowed to pass through security there.
It's not clear how the paperweight owner was able to pass security in Moscow with the item.
TSA agents typically do not allow items that look like real weapons on board planes. However, this isn't always true as a woman managed to get a gun passed TSA security.She flew from Florida to New Jersey with the loaded weapon.