Luton Airport evacuation ‘not caused by hair straighteners’

Airside passengers were forced to wait by fuel tankers on the taxiway, Picture by Paul Green

Airside passengers were forced to wait by fuel tankers on the taxiway, Picture by Paul Green

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The ‘suspicious package’ which closed Luton Airport yesterday had ‘power sources and several electronic cables’ but was not a pair of hair straighteners, Luton News can reveal.

A number of media outlets reported that a pair of hair straighteners caused the mass panic, but an airport spokesman scotched those rumours this morning.

It is thought that the package was not a household appliance at all, but may have been made up of several different items.

Remains of the package are now being examined by bomb disposal experts.

Police were called to the airport’s departure terminal at 1.30pm on Monday, amid fears that an item found within a passenger’s hand luggage during an x-ray search was an explosive device.

Following police questioning the passenger was unable to account for the item and confirmed the bag had previously been left unattended.

The item, which was rectangular in shape displayed a large amount of organic mass, power sources and several electronic cables, was taken away by police who quickly evacuated the airport terminal while they waited for a bomb disposal team to check the ‘suspicious package’.

A controlled explosion was conducted at 5.15pm, after it was decided that the package ‘did not present a wider danger’.

The closure meant that hundreds of passengers were evacuated to the front of the terminal, where inflatable shelters were erected to keep passengers out of the sun.

Airside passengers were moved from the departure lounge through doors to the taxiway, where many waited for more than an hour.

Refreshments were provided, while buses were also brought around to provide shade.

Paul Green, 40, from Bletchley, Bucks, told Luton News that he was evacuated shortly after passing through security.

He said: “I was one of the last to come through security before they cleared it, then 20 minutes later the fire alarm went.

“A couple of the fire doors were locked but I managed to get through one before I was told to turn around and go back.

“We went through a gate door and ended up standing outside by the fuel trucks for more than an hour.”

Mr Green added: “Someone told me that they had seen an x-ray operator call for a supervisor and when he didn’t come, shouted for him.”