A passenger’s joke about a bomb in his luggage forced authorities to shut down a terminal for more than three hours at Miami International Airport (MIA), US, which affected hundreds of passengers on Wednesday.
Miami police said that they had arrested 60-year-old Manuel Alberto Alvarado.
The bomb hoax led to the closure of Concourse J. The arrested passenger was travelling from Miami, Florida to Caracas, Venezuela on Avianca Airlines.
As a precautionary measure, a bomb squad was also called to the scene and the departure roadway was shut down while officers removed two suspicious bags. Police later said that nothing was found in the passenger’s luggage.
Assistant aviation director Lauren Stover was quoted by Fox News as saying: "When anyone makes a joke about any kind of explosive, they say the word bomb, they say they have the word explosives, they say anything that can create a threat to our terminal, our public, our passengers and our aircraft, you can bet your bottom dollar that we’re gonna take that serious."
Alvarado has been charged with criminal mischief and possessing a hoax bomb.
Alvarado made his first appearance in court today and said that the incident was a colossal misunderstanding. However, the court has raised his bond to $50,000. The court has also ordered Alvarado to surrender his passport and banned him from MIA.