Smoking Suitcase Causes Plane Evacuation

delta generic plane airplane luggage suitcase lost
Passengers on a U.S. Airways plane being boarded at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Tuesday morning were taken off the plane after smoke was spotted coming from a suitcase in the cargo area.

Authorities who checked the bag determined there were no explosives in the suitcase. Airport spokeswoman Julie Rodruigez said the Phoenix Fire Department is still investigating the source of the smoke.

Rodriguez said the A-17 gate area in Terminal 4 was evacuated as a precaution.

She said the Phoenix Fire Department called in a hazardous materials team as a precaution, and she said the owner of the suitcase is being questioned by police.

The suitcase was in the cargo hold of the airplane headed to San Antonio when it started emitting smoke, said Claire Simeone, another airport spokeswoman. The airplane was moved to a less busy area while authorities investigated the suitcase on the tarmac. CBS affiliate KPHO reported that passengers were able to re-board the plane after it had been moved.

The suitcase may have been screened elsewhere and not in Phoenix if it was being transferred onto a connecting flight, Simeone said.