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Pennsylvania Airport Closed After Suspicious Package Is Present in Checked Bag


A small airport in Pennsylvania was closed on Friday night after a suspicious package was detected in checked luggage on a flight sure for Chicago.

The authorities later said that bag didn’t contain anything hazardous, and that the airport would reopen at 4 a.m. on Saturday.

The passenger terminal on the University Park Airport in State College, Pa., was evacuated “out of an abundance of caution” around 6:30 p.m. after a suspicious item was detected by airport security, the Penn State University Police and Public Safety Department said on Twitter.

Law enforcement officials and an explosives device team arrived to examine the checked bag, while about 100 passengers were transported to Penn State University nearby to take shelter, the police said.

State College, about 135 miles east of Pittsburgh, is home to Penn State.

The airport was closed, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop, as officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies inspected the bag.

Bomb technicians later determined that there was nothing of danger inside, said Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. She added that explosive-sniffing dogs were sweeping the terminal to arrange for the airport’s reopening.

It was unclear which Chicago airport the checked bag had been headed for.

Earlier this week, a 40-year-old man was arrested on federal charges after checking a suitcase containing an explosive for a flight to Florida from the Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa.

The authorities said Marc Muffley, of Lansford, Pa., checked a bag on the Lehigh Valley International Airport on Monday that was flagged by an alarm system. After going through security screening on the airport, the authorities said Mr. Muffley left the airport five minutes after being asked to report back to the safety desk.

Based on a criminal grievance, the explosive present in Mr. Muffley’s checked bag was about three inches in diameter and fabricated from commercial-grade fireworks powder and flash powder.

He was charged with possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to position an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft.

Mike Ives contributed reporting.

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