Flight delayed while TSA checks out mystery tool

A suspicious item found during a baggage screening delayed a San Francisco-bound flight about 45 minutes at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport Monday morning.

Transportation Security Administration officers noticed a suspicious-looking item on a checked-in bag for SkyWest flight 5296 to San Francisco at about 11:30 a.m. The baggage inspection building was initially evacuated but not the terminal, according to an airport press release. The passenger whom the item belonged to was briefly detained.

The flight was scheduled to depart at 11:08 a.m. and was already behind schedule.

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 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.

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