Airport evacuated in Orlando after battery explodes near security gate
Nov 13 2017 by Francis Osborne
Travelers were waiting in to get through the security line at Orlando International Airport when smoke began to escape from an unattended backpack.
Authorities did not report any injuries from the incident. A security officer then scoops up the bag and carries it off to a less-populated area. "I'm very proud of our team and how they responded to both the incident and the recovery process of rescreening passengers", said TSA Federal Security Director Jerry Henderson.
Violence around the world added to panic that swept across Orlando International Airport on Friday night after a passenger dropped a bag quickly to the ground, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Phil Brown said in a blog post Saturday.
Ricardo Perez, a 20-year veteran of the Army before joining the TSA, placed the bag "between a concrete column and a concrete planter to mitigate any harm that might come with a full explosion", according to a TSA statement commending the agent for his actions and the passengers for their quick reactions "given the current threat environment".
"I was so close to the bag. So I live to do it again".
While it was a minor incident, it still caused hours of delays and chaos.
The loud event also led to panic throughout the airport, with some believing the noise generated by the battery - along with the sound of the stanchions falling in the wake of the scared passegners - were from gunfire.
Brown said in the letter that emergency staff tried to restore calm "but as everyone is aware, a few trying to communicate a message to this large of a mass is a daunting task".
After investigation, it has been determined that a lithium-ion battery inside a camera overheated and exploded. But it seems like a good time for a PSA reminder: Always keep your lithium ion batteries in carry-on and ideally separate from the camera itself.