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Jacksonville airport reopened after evacuation

10:55 PM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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Travelers go through airport security at Jacksonville International Airport. (Photo: Gannett file)

(USA Today) -- Jacksonville International Airport reopened Tuesday night after a bomb squad removed a "destructive device," the Associated Press reported.

Earlier, authorities ordered an evacuation of the facility as police investigated suspicious packages. Passengers on a DC bound plane were among the evacuees shuttled away from the airport.

Airport spokesman Michael Stewart said the evacuation was ordered after authorities found the package in the terminal and another in a parking garage, the Times-Union reported on its website.

Police found one of the packages in the terminal and another in a nearby parking garage, Stewart said. It wasn't immediately clear what was in the packages, but the bomb squad from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was still on the scene and investigating late Tuesday night, Stewart said.

"It was determined that because of the seriousness of the situation that they would evacuate the terminal," Stewart said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage. Jacksonville police blocked off the entrance to the airport.

Local news media reported that the sheriff's office had arrested two suspects, but Stewart said he could not confirm that.

Flightaware.com, which tracks commercial aviation, reported that flights to Jacksonville were being ordered held at their origin point. Passengers on flights that arrived during the evacuation were being taken by bus to local hotels, the airport said in a tweet.

A TV station reported on its website, News4Jax.com, that a witness, Jennifer Lee, said said she saw a man taken into custody at a security checkpoint.

"My colleague and I were coming through security, and all of a sudden they stopped everybody that was in security," Lee said. "We looked a couple of lanes over and they were arresting a gentleman in sunglasses. Originally they told us to stand there. Then they started to yell at us to leave."

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