British airport partly evacuated

2010-01-23 20:24

London - Police evacuated part of a British airport on Saturday and declared a "chemical incident" after a man tried to carry some non-identified white powder onto a plane.

A check-in area in Manchester Airport in northwest England was cleared after the substance was discovered in a bag carried by an Asian man planning to fly to London Heathrow.

However, police Superintendent Leor Giladi said there was "no imminent danger", and a source said it was unlikely the incident was terror-related.

Britain is on high alert after the terror threat assessment was raised to its second highest level Friday, suggesting an attack is "highly likely".

A police spokesperson said officers were called to Manchester Airport shortly before 12.55pm (GMT) by security staff from the check-in desk at Terminal 3.

They had "discovered a non-identified white powder in a bag which a man was attempting to carry on to a plane".

"Officers attended along with the fire service and they declared it a chemical incident," the spokesman added.

"The check-in desk at Terminal 3 has been cordoned off and a man in his 20s is helping police with their inquiries at the airport."

An airport spokeswoman later confirmed that flights were leaving from Terminal 3 but passengers had to check in at a different terminal.

In a separate statement, police chief Giladi said the investigation was "at a very early stage" and officers had acted as a "precaution".

"However, I would like to stress there is no imminent danger to anyone at the airport and there have been no reports of any injuries as a result of this substance being discovered," he said.

"Tests are being carried to out to establish what this substance is."

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