TSA agent grabs smoking bag, runs it away from passengers

Orlando International Airport. AP  David Tulis

Orlando International Airport. AP David Tulis

There's video released today showing that backpack that caused a four-hour travel delay in Orlando this weekend.

The incident outside the Orlando International Airport West Checkpoint was created by what was originally thought to be an improvised explosive device (IED), but which later turned out to be an exploding battery in a passenger's backpack. "There was a loud sound that startled people, but no shots fired, no danger to public".

The passenger was surprised when he saw smoke from a lithium battery that had overheated and exploded coming out of his bag. The officer - a 20-year veteran of the Army before joining the TSA - swooped in and ran the bag away from travelers and placed it between a concrete column and a concrete planter to mitigate any harm that might come with a full explosion.

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Perez, who works for the Transport Security Administration at Orlando International Airport in Florida, told News 6: "I was so close to the bag". It could've happened, but it didn't.

The TSA has also lauded Perez's actions in an Instagram post, saying that Perez put everyone else's safety "before his own", and lauding him as a hero.

While it was a minor incident, it still caused hours of delays and chaos.

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Brown said the airport is looking at technology to improve the way it communicates in an emergency, including using the fire alarm speakers and quickly utilizing electronic billboards to send a message.

He dropped the bag and bystanders mistook the noise caused by the commotion for gunfire, Brown said.

After an investigation, the battery responsible for the incident was reported to have been a camera battery, which is legal aboard flights. But it seems like a good time for a PSA reminder: Always keep your lithium ion batteries in carry-on and ideally separate from the camera itself.

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While the bag with the camera began to smolder, no injuries were reported.

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