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Bomb squad responds to unattended bag found at Asheville Regional Airport

For the second week in a row, a suspicious package has been found at the Asheville Regional Airport. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

For the second time in a week, the SBI’s bomb squad was called in to Asheville Regional Airport.

Tina Kinsey, spokeswoman for the airport, said an airport housekeeper performing regular duties found an unattended backpack in the men’s room near baggage claim between 9 and 10 a.m. Thursday.

“The bag was determined to be of no consequence,” Kinsey said. “That’s all the information we have at this time.”

On Friday, Oct. 6, the SBI bomb squad responded to the airport after a crudely-made explosive device was found on the curb, which had a mason jar filled with ammonium nitrate, nails and an alarm clock attached to the makeshift device.

Police said Michael Estes, a convicted felon, was seen on surveillance, arrested, and confessed to leaving the device.

An explosives expert News 13 spoke with said such a device had the potential to do significant damage in the right hands.

The device was discovered before it went off.

Estes reportedly told police he was preparing to fight a war on U.S. soil.

On Thursday, passengers were kept in the south baggage claim area, and the bathroom area was blocked off as explosive tests were conducted on the backpack.

Andy Crespo, who lives in west Asheville, was traveling to JFK. When he learned about the security check on the unattended bag, Crespo wasn’t surprised.

“I’m glad it didn’t turn out to be something worse,” Crespo said. “Traveling in airports, now, in general, just feels more intense. The security checks, continued announcements about minding your bags. It just feels not as easy as it used to be.”

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