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Suspicious Liquid Found at W.Va. Airport

August 17, 2006

CEREDO, W.Va. (AP) _ A West Virginia airport terminal was evacuated Thursday after two bottles of liquid found in a woman’s carry-on luggage twice tested positive for explosives, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said.

``The bomb squad is on site and the woman is being interviewed by the FBI,″ Amy von Walter said.

A machine security checkpoint screeners use to test for explosives registered positive, and a canine team also got a positive hit, von Walter said.

Airport manager Larry Salyers said the bottles would be moved by robot to a remote area of the airport where officials would attempt to detonate them. National Guard and State Police explosive experts will conduct chemical field tests to determine what’s inside them, he said.

Salyers said he was told the woman was 28-year-old native of Pakistan who had moved to Huntington from Jackson, Mich. He did not know how long she had lived in Huntington.

The woman was still at the airport late Thursday afternoon, but was not under arrest, said FBI spokesman Jeff Killeen.

Commercial airline service was suspended at least until 5 p.m., and about 100 passengers and airport employees were ordered to leave the terminal, Tri-State Airport Authority President Jim Booton. A US Airways spokeswoman said one of its flights was diverted to Charleston’s Yeager Airport about 60 miles away.

A screener noticed a bottle in a woman’s carry-on bag as she prepared to board a flight to Charlotte, N.C., Booton said. Salyers said she was eventually headed to Detroit.

U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights last week after British officials made arrests in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.

Some travelers were more surprised than fearful about the discovery.

``This is such a small airport. I never imagined something like this happening here,″ said Shannon Bloss, who was traveling to Orlando, Fla., for a wedding.

Joy and John Cloutre of Ulysses, Ky., were waiting to begin the first leg of their trip to the southeast Asian country of Brunei when the evacuation order came.

``My family didn’t want me to leave because of the terrorism in Brunei,″ Joy Cloutre told the Herald Dispatch of Huntington. ``And then we don’t even get out of Huntington without something like this happening.″

Update hourly