Pesticide spill at MIA forces gate closure
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (WSVN) -- Fire rescue and Hazmat crews responded to a small chemical spill at Miami International Airport Monday afternoon that forced officials to close down two gates.
Airport officials said a TSA agent checking luggage on a cargo hold before loading it into a plane between gates D24 and D25 noticed a suspicious odor coming out of a bag belonging to a passenger on American Airlines Flight 1119, which had originated in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and was scheduled to fly to Baltimore after its Miami stop.
According to an e-mail statement from the TSA, the agency "re-screens all luggage that arrives in the U.S. from foreign destinations before being loaded on a domestic flights, both carry-on and checked baggage."
Upon further inspection, hazmat technicians found that a homemade pesticide inside a three-ounce container had seeped through the suitcase and started to make several TSA agents sick. "From our understanding, there was some spillage from the bag," said MIA spokesperson Greg Chin. "It was enough that it caused them to react in a way that caused their health to take a downturn."
Hazmat crews isolated the area and placed the toxic item in an orange bag while paramedics treated five TSA agents on the scene who experienced a variety of symptoms, including nausea, abdominal pains, vomiting and headaches. Four of the victims were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital for further evaluation. They are all expected to be OK.
According to the TSA statement, the male passenger attached to the bag containing the pesticide "was located and is being interviewed by TSA officials, along with local law enforcement."
Flight 1119 continued on to Baltimore as scheduled. The incident did not create any flight delays.
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