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Victoria, B.C. airport reopens to flights after suspicious package prompts closure

Click to play video: 'Man charged with mischief after Victoria International Airport shutdown'
Man charged with mischief after Victoria International Airport shutdown
Police say one man has been charged with mischief and could face more charges after the discovery of an inert explosive device forced the shutdown of Victoria International Airport on Tuesday afternoon. Kylie Stanton reports – May 25, 2022

RCMP closed Victoria’s airport to commercial flights for hours Tuesday while officers responded to a suspicious package.

The Victoria Airport Authority confirmed just before 3:30 p.m. that police were responding to a call at the airport.

Cpl. Andres Sanchez of Sidney/North Saanich RCMP told the Canadian Press that the threat appeared to be “an incendiary device” in someone’s luggage.

Sanchez said the suspicious package was identified in the departures check-in area of the airport around 1:30 p.m. during a security scan.

He said it was seized by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority staff and a wing of the airport was closed to ensure travellers were safe. Police and specialized units from the Lower Mainland have been called in to inspect the item.

RCMP said there are no public safety concerns but the public should avoid the airport for at least the next several hours.

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Travellers are asked not to come to the airport and to check their flight status with their carrier, or on the airport website.

The airport authority confirmed the situation had finally resolved around 8 p.m. A select few flights were still being allowed to arrive despite the closure.

Sanchez told the Canadian Press that the individual carrying the suspicious luggage is under investigation but police will have to determine the nature of the item before proceeding with any possible charges.

A statement from WestJet said six flights had been cancelled as a result of the temporary closure.

“All guests impacted by the listed cancellations have been proactively notified and re-accommodated,” it said.

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Around 6:45 p.m., the airport’s website showed five Air Canada flights between 3:30 and 8:20 p.m. had been cancelled. An Air Canada flight to Calgary scheduled to leave Victoria at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday was also listed as cancelled.

With files from the Canadian Press

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