Surveillance video shows TSA officer removing smoking bag from security checkpoint

Orlando International Airport. AP  David Tulis

Orlando International Airport (shown here in a September 17 promotional video) was a chaotic scene Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, when a lithium battery exploded in a camera bag. The bag was smoldering; no one hurt.

The incident was reported at about 5 p.m.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority spokesman Rod Johnson said: "As a result of the incident, a ground stop was issued and a number of flights were held while passengers were allowed back into the building and security checkpoints reactivated".

Officer Ricardo Perez, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, swooped in and ran the bag away from travelers.

"Bag went and started smoking".

Mr Perez - who works for the Transport Security Administration at the airport - said he joined the organisation after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It could've happened, but it didn't.

Investigators originally thought there was an improvised explosive device in the bag, but it later turned out to be an exploding battery in a passenger's backpack. "And so I live to do it again". People fled in panic, the airport was evacuated and flights were delayed for several hours while authorities performed security sweeps.

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

Brown said in the letter that emergency staff tried to restore calm "but as everyone is aware, a few trying to communicate a message to this large of a mass is a daunting task". 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.

After an investigation, the battery responsible for the incident was reported to have been a camera battery, which is legal aboard flights.

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