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Charleston airport evacuated for two hours over suspicious laptop

(Reuters) – South Carolina’s Charleston International Airport was evacuated for about two hours before dawn on Friday after screeners found a suspicious package that turned out to be a laptop computer, the airport’s top official said.

The package was spotted shortly after 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT) by U.S. Transportation Security Administration screeners as it went through an x-ray unit, airport Executive Director Paul Campbell said. It looked “suspicious enough” that the local bomb squad was called in, he added.

“We compared it with other laptops and found that it didn’t look exactly right. So consequently we erred on the side of caution,” Campbell said in an airport news conference, a video of which was posted on the airport’s Twitter page.

Although the bomb squad determined the laptop posed no threat, the device and a “person involved” were taken to Charleston police headquarters where the investigation continued, Campbell said.

The airport reopened shortly after 7 a.m., with passengers lining up at security checkpoints, ticket counters and gates.

“We apologize for the delay, but we’re not going to sacrifice safety for any reason, any reason at all,” Campbell said.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Peter Szekely; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Jeffrey Benkoe

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