UPDATE: After bomb threat sweep, traffic allowed back into Hector Airport
The 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks came with a local scare, as police here are now investigating a bomb threat received at Hector International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
Local and federal bomb squad technicians were called to Hector around 4:15 p.m. after airport representatives received a bomb threat via telephone, Lt. Joel Vettel said.
"Today of all days," said Brian Underhill, a cab driver who was at the terminal when the threat was called in. "Security and TSA were just everywhere."
Traffic was kept out of the airport nearly two hours while police, TSA, FBI and bomb squad officials swept the area to gather evidence.
Given the threat came on the anniversary of Sept. 11, law enforcement needed to be a "bit more diligent" than usual and err on the side of safety, Vettel said.
"Certainly, everybody's sensitive to the date," he said.
No one was detained and the airport was not evacuated during the sweep, Vettel said.
Traffic was still allowed to leave the airport during the process, but no one could enter the terminal, causing problems both for arriving flights and taxi services. Several hotel vans and private taxis were lined up on Dakota Drive, waiting to get back and pick up arriving fliers.
"We're probably going to get slammed when we go back in there because I'm sure there's a lot of people waiting for rides," Underhill said as he waited for police to let traffic back in.
Some arriving fliers decided to trek from the terminal to 19th Avenue North on foot, luggage in tow.
Vettel said the sweep of the building went smoothly.
"This is a perfect example for why we train for these types of events, and why we feel that things have gone extremely well," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518
Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author's name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send a letter to the editor.