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TSA Agent Accidentally Pepper Sprays Five Coworkers, Thinking It Was a Laser Pointer

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Mar 27, 2013 06:10 PM EDT

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Six Transportation Security Administration workers were hospitalized after one airport security screener accidentally sprayed five of his coworkers with a can of pepper spray that he was playing around with.

All six of the TSA screeners at New York's JFK Airport were taken to the hospital Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens as a precaution.  Due to the lack of staff, the security checks were held up for at least 15 minutes in Terminal 2 of the airport, the Daily Mail reports.

Officer Chris Yves Dabel reportedly told the Port Authority police that he found the pepper spray canister on the floor near the security checkpoint but he thought it was a laser pointer.

"They were playing around with it," a member of staff at the airport told the New York Post.

Dabel accidentally sprayed his coworkers with pepper spray when he was trying to determine if it was really a laser pointer. He refused medical attention.

The TSA released a statement about the incident to Gothamist. It reads, "Yesterday morning, out of an abundance of caution, six TSA officers at JFK Airport were transported to a local hospital after being exposed to pepper spray. Officers were examining an abandoned item to determine its contents and to move it out of harm's way when it accidentally discharged. Travelers and other airport employees were not exposed to the spray."

The TSA has come under fire recently after an undercover federal inspector was able to get through security while hiding a fake bomb in his pants at Newark Airport.

The TSA also announced recently that they're going to allow small knives and some sports equipment on board planes starting April 25. Items such as those were banned after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The announced policy change  has received a lot of backlash from airlines, flight attendants, air marshals and other groups.

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