Airport Screener Fired Over Security Breach

CLEVELAND (AP) - A security guard who overlooked a screening machine alert for possible explosives in a carry-on bag has been fired at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the airport chief said Tuesday.

Commissioner Fred Szabo said the city-owned airport supported the decision by Huntleigh International of St. Louis to dismiss the employee.

The employee's name was withheld because it involved a personnel matter, Szabo said.

Huntleigh International could not be reached for comment. A message was left for the company in St. Louis.

The security oversight last Friday led to the 2½-hour shutdown of two concourses at the airport as passengers were evacuated and rechecked.

When the screener missed an explosives alert, Szabo said, screeners were unable to find the bag and could not rule out the possibility that the bag was aboard a departing flight.

More than 13 million passengers passed through Hopkins in 2000, making it the nation's 33rd busiest airport. That year, there were 332,000 landings and takeoffs.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)