Travelers were waiting in to get through the security line at Orlando International Airport when smoke began to escape from an unattended backpack. Those who noticed the bag moved away from it quickly, assuming the worst. A TSA agent rushed over to pick the bag up and get it as far from the crowd as possible.
That’s when something exploded inside of the bag.
“It was pandemonium,” said traveler Mike Robinson while describing the ensuing panic. Many around him thought they were hearing gunshots, or worse.
Authorities showed up to the scene and soon discovered that no one was in danger. In fact, the smoke and the explosion did not come from a bomb, as previously thought, but instead were caused by a lithium battery inside of a camera.
Though the situation was not as dire as it could have been, many have congratulated the TSA agent who jumped into action.
Perez, a veteran who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army, said that he “loves serving the public.” He did exactly that when he acted on his instinct to move the backpack away from the airport crowds, even as it exploded in his hands.
“When I picked up that bag, I did think for a second, ‘This is it.’ And it could’ve happened, but it didn’t. And so I live to do it again.”
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Phil Brown later blamed “all of the events occurring around the world” for adding to the day’s panic.