(NewsSpace.com) – When traveling by plane, there are a number of substances passengers are prohibited from bringing onboard, whether in checked or carry-on luggage. At airports across the United States, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) job is to screen luggage and belongings to detect these substances and remove them before they ever make it on the plane. However, at Nashville International Airport (BNA), agents missed something that eventually led to a partial evacuation of the facility.
On Sunday, April 16, travelers in BNA’s Concourse C complained of an obnoxious odor. This led authorities to evacuate the area while they investigated the source of the scent. It remained off-limits for approximately 90 minutes while the Nashville Fire Department tested the air quality. They determined the scent was caused by the solvent butoxyethyl acetate. The Federal Aviation Administration also issued a temporary ground stop to let emergency vehicles in.
Pepper spray canister exploded in the C Concourse at Nashville International Airport. Entire area evacuated #Nashville pic.twitter.com/gkglMQJKTy
— RJS (@SzendreyR) April 16, 2023
As it turns out, a passenger at BNA was carrying a bookbag with bear spray in it. Bear spray is a deterrent that contains Major Capsaicinoids, including red pepper oil, which can cause severe irritation to the eyes and sinuses. The traveler reportedly tossed the substance in the trash can, where video footage shows an airport employee found it and activated it, causing the smell to overtake the concourse.
The Tennessean reported that the CEO of BNA, Doug Kreulen, said employees went through more than 1,000 cameras to determine what happened. They worked to identify the man who tossed the can in the trash and reached out to him to identify the substance. The traveler said he didn’t realize that the bear spray was dangerous.
The fact that TSA missed the aerosol can in the screening has led the administration to launch an investigation and officials say they will “review details with [its] airport partners to ensure appropriate actions are taken” to prevent future occurrences.
Copyright 2023, NewsSpace.com