MINNEAPOLIS -- More than 250 people were evacuated from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport early Thursday after security officials identified a "suspicious substance" in the C concourse of Lindbergh Terminal.
The substance was discovered around 9:15 a.m. in the waiting area of Gate 27 C. Passengers were immediately evacuated after a member of airport personnel reported symptoms of dizziness.
"The airport worker was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and released," said Airport Police Sgt. Ike Conyers. "Fortunately, this turned out to be a non-event, but we are very proud of our response to the situation."
Passengers in the C concourse were evacuated to a decontamination area on the far western side of Runway 1. In special plastic showers, each passenger was required to disrobe and was then doused with water.
After decontamination, passengers in airport-issue jumpsuits were allowed access to their baggage so they could put on new clothes.
Flights scheduled to use Runway 1 were diverted either to the airport's two other runways or Hector International Airport in Fargo, N.D., located 255 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.
Hazmat crews were issued to the C concourse to clean the substance. Samples taken from the scene were analyzed and later determined to be Welch's grape juice.
"Just some kid who spilled grape juice. That happens," Conyers said. "I don't want to say anything disparaging about the airport employee. The mind is a very powerful thing, so sometimes you can have very real symptoms when the threat is negative.
"As I say, I am very pleased with how our department responded to this situation. And I am happy that there were no injuries or deaths. From what I understand, this was actually fortuitous for the airport worker -- he was able to attend a Twins game that he would have missed had he stayed the length of his shift."
Passengers were allowed back into the C concourse after being re-screened through security. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, more than half of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International's flights were still delayed.
Passenger David Glumack of Coon Rapids, Minn., faced a delay of at least 18 hours in getting to Milwaukee, but met it with resolve.
"It's a hassle, but it's worth it to be safe, you know?" Glumack said. "Anything to keep me safe. That shower was cold and kind of embarrassing, but these are different times. I'll do anything they ask me to do to keep the terrorists from winning."
The above is a piece of Flickr Fiction based on this photo from Flickr user CinDLin.
Also writing short pieces based on this photo are Donal, Elisa, and Isobel, Littlegoat and Sarah.
You can find out more about Flickr Fiction here.