Rice tea blamed for Oklahoma City airport scare

Wednesday, March 16th 2005, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A baggage claim area at Will Rogers World Airport was closed for nearly two hours Wednesday after an airport worker saw white powder leaking from a box.

The area was reopened after the powder was found to be a type of rice tea.

"It's part of everybody's training to observe and be alert when something like that happens," said airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. "Everyone is taught to be aware of things like this and take emergency procedures, and that is what happened here."

The powder had come from a box belonging to a Vietnamese passenger who had arrived in Oklahoma City on Wednesday morning. The passenger, who flew to Oklahoma City from Taiwan said the tea is consumed for medicinal purposes, Carney said. Police interviewed the man and determined there was no malicious intent.

Passengers were forced to used a different baggage claim area while hazardous materials workers and firefighters secured the area and tested the powder.

Only the two employees working in the baggage office where the box was held were evacuated. No flights were disrupted.