Published: January 31, 2004

Portland, Maine, airport shuts down due to electronic practice chanter

An unidentified piper carrying an electronic practice chanter packed in a PVC pipe carrying case caused a security alert at the Portland International Jetport in Maine on the morning of January 13, causing the evacuation of the airport, delaying hundreds of passengers.

Baggage screeners mistook the practice chanter for a pipe bomb.

The piper was described as a middle-aged local businessman. He was interviewed by the FBI and police.

Authorities admitted that the passenger did nothing wrong, and security officials from the tiny airport simply had never seen such an object. They advised that pipers carrying electronic practice chanters should notify baggage screeners before sending potentially suspect equipment through scanning devices.

The United States has been on a heightened state of alert since the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Centre.

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