Unexplained Pungent Odor Closes Airport Checkpoint, Sickens 19

“The incident happened hours before President Bush was scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. at a National Guard base adjacent to the airport.”

23 August 2006: A security checkpoint at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was closed yesterday and 19 people – including Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel and one airline worker were taken to hospitals after screeners complained of irritating fumes that were described as “sweet and peppery.” At approximately 11:00 a.m., airport security screeners reported an odd odor that irritated the eyes, noses and throats of the individuals exposed, stated airport spokesman Pat Hogan. The 19 airport workers who were transported to the hospitals were described as conscious and alert at the time of their transport, and none appeared to be seriously injured. One traveler who was nearby was treated at the scene and released.

Although no serious injuries were reported and no flights were affected, the airport fire department and a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) teams were called, but neither could not find the origin of the odor.