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Live cannonball in luggage forces evacuation at Florida airport

Florida cannonball

An old coral-covered cannonball forced the evacuation of the checked baggage area at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the week of Jan. 30, said TSA, after its discovery in a diver’s baggage.

The weapon’s discovery resulted in an evacuation of the airport’s checked baggage area and flight delays for almost 300 people, said the agency. The owner of the cannonball didn’t have any malicious intent, TSA said, and had collected it as a souvenir during a diving trip on a shipwreck.

Even though the projectile was from a sunken 1750-1800 era ship lying on the ocean floor for more than 200 years, TSA determined it to be potentially dangerous. “It was determined that the coral covered cannonball was explosively viable which triggered an evacuation of the checked baggage area and a visit from a TSA explosives specialist and a Broward County bomb tech,” said TSA Blogger Bob Burns on Feb. 3. “Cannonballs found on the ocean floor can retain their explosives and have been known to detonate on their own. The bomb tech took possession of the item for further identification, diagnostics, and safe disposal,” he said.

Among other items TSA security screeners came across in carry-on bags the week of Jan. 30 were a cattle prod at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall airport, a lipstick knife in bag at Denver and inert practice grenades packed along with seven M16 magazines and other gear at San Diego.

TSA agents also found 14 loaded guns and five unloaded guns in carry-on luggage at airports around the country that week, said Burns.


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