October 13, 1996 in City

Rental Truck Sparks Sea-Tac Bomb Scare

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reopened its grounds to incoming automobile traffic early Saturday, four hours after an unattended rental van turned into a bomb scare at the busy terminal.

“It’s over and it was an empty van,” said Mark Coates, a spokesman for the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport.

Air traffic was never affected, and arriving passengers who had cars at the airport were able to drive out. But incoming traffic was restricted from about 9:30 p.m. Friday to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Coates said.

The van was spotted parked on the ground level of the airport outside a passenger baggage claim area at about 8 p.m. Friday.

When police were unable to locate the driver, the van was deemed a suspicious vehicle. The airport’s own bomb technicians, the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms all were called to the scene, Coates said.

A robot was used to check the van and open its doors before any people went inside, Coates said. Port of Seattle police bomb technicians then inspected it.

Entrances to the airport from U.S. 99 and Washington 518 had been closed as a precaution, jamming traffic outside the airport Friday night.

The United and Alaska airlines ticket counters were also shut down and Concourse D closed just to be safe, Coates said. Some operations were moved to other parts of the airport.

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