Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Exploding Honey from Killer Bees? Hardly. Hysterical Over-Reaction? Well, you be the judge.


"Explosive" at California airport found to be honey

By Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman
Tue Jan 5, 9:28 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Authorities shut down a California airport on Tuesday after a suspicious amber liquid in a passenger's bag tested positive for explosives -- only to ultimately determine that the substance was honey.

Francisco Ramirez, a 31-year-old gardener who had been visiting family in the central California city of Bakersfield, was allowed to return home to Milwaukee.

"The substances in the bottles did turn out to be honey. They tested negative for all explosives and narcotics. It is nothing but honey," FBI spokesman Steve Dupre told Reuters.

The security scare came as jitters gripped the U.S. travel industry in the aftermath of an unsuccessful Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound commercial flight from Amsterdam using explosives smuggled on board.

Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, was shut down and evacuated for hours and flights diverted after the incident, which began when Ramirez' bag set of an alarm in a luggage-screening machine.

U.S. Transportation and Security administration screeners turned up five Gatorade bottles full of what they called a "suspicious-looking liquid." Swabs of the bag and bottles tested positive for the explosives TNT and TATP.

When the bottles were opened, two of the screeners smelled a strong chemical odor, complained of nausea and were rushed to a local hospital, where they treated and released, Kern County Sheriff's spokesman Michael Whorf said.

Kern County Sheriffs deputies, fire crews, FBI agents and members of a "joint terrorism task force" responded to the scene and spent the day questioning Ramirez before further tests showed that the liquid was honey.

After the all clear was given, officials said they were trying to determine why the honey tested positive for explosives and made the screeners so ill that they would need medical attention.

"There are some questions I think are going to have to be followed up on," Dupre said. He said that Ramirez was "free to go" and would likely be home in Milwaukee by Wednesday.

Ramirez, who Whorf described as "very cooperative," had originally been booked on a flight from Bakersfield to Milwaukee with a connection through San Francisco.

In an unrelated incident halfway across the country on Tuesday, a bomb-sniffing dog detected what was thought to be explosives in a piece of luggage at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, prompting an evacuation of a terminal and delayed flights there.

No explosives were found in the bag.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I can hardly wait to see what they have to say about this on the Daily Show.


Anonymous said...

This was my Mom's favorite joke:

3 couples go into a restaurant- The first guy says to his wife, "Pass the sugar, Sugar'. The 2nd guy says to his wife, "Pass the honey, Honey". The 3rd guy says to his wife, "Pass the tea, bag."

This joke never failed to crack her up.

I have a great story to send you about honey and bee keeping in an old Archeology Magazine. You will "bee" amazed at the stuff that exists in history.

I really, really used to love flying before 9/11, but no more.


Ryan said...

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.... *shaking head*

-- Ryan

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Which part?

The part where you're carrying honey in your suitcase?

Or the part where you get so excited at the idea of terrorism that you make yourself sick smelling honey and have to be taken to the hospital?

Kristen said...

"we have no idea why they got sick and smelled a strong chemical odor--except for the fact that they were already freaked out and when panicked the brain is known to release psychosis-inducing hormones." The "treated and released" is my favorite bit--"your treatment, ma'am, is a cup of tea and a few minutes to sit in this chair here. I'll write you a scrip."

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is who are the nimrods who work at the airport whose job it is to "smell the dangerous substance?"

That's the last thing I would want to do in a job where you come into contact with potentially dangerous substances!


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

"the tests say that these bottles contain explosives. I know. I'll open one and stick my face in it."

Are these people really brave, or really stupid?


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