Suspicious tool delays flight at Medford airport

A suspicious device turned up during a baggage screening delayed a San Francisco-bound flight about an hour at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport this morning.

Transportation Security Administration officers noticed a suspicious-looking device on a checked-in bag for Skywest flight 5296 to San Francisco at about 11:30 a.m. The flight was scheduled to depart at 11:08 a.m. and already was behind schedule.

The baggage inspection building was initially evacuated, but at no time was the terminal evacuated, a press release from airport officials said. The passenger to whom the item belonged was briefly detained.

Airport Director Bern Case would not identify the item, but described it as a tool. He said officers initially were unable to tell what the tool was when it went through screening.

“If we can't identify what it is and it could be something else, that's what triggers our alert process,” Case said.

Airport spokeswoman Kim Stearns said that there was initial concern that the device could have been some kind of explosive.

The item was determined to be harmless and the flight was allowed to leave at about 12:15 p.m.

“We practice for this, we train for this, everything was done correctly,” Case said.

— Mat Wolf

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