Long Beach Airport evacuated in scare

Terminal is cleared for two hours after screeners find a 'suspicious' device in luggage that turns out to be a prototype of a new toy.
By Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writer
July 27, 2007


Long Beach Airport was evacuated Thursday morning after security screeners found a "suspicious" device in a piece of luggage that turned out to be a prototype for a new toy, law enforcement officials said.

After a two-hour evacuation, passengers were allowed back into the terminal about 11:30 a.m.

Officials rescheduled departing flights that had been grounded, airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson said.

Incoming flights were either rerouted or passengers were kept on the planes that had landed, she said.

The evacuation was ordered after airport security guards found the item in a piece of luggage, Diggs-Jackson said.

The device was a prototype of a new toy for Mattel Inc. and was being flown to the Northeast by a contractor who was working for the toy maker, law enforcement officials said.

Hundreds of people milled about the airport parking lot as officials including the FBI and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigated.