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Monday, October 14, 2013

'Dry ice' restroom explosion halts flights at LAX; FBI investigating

An apparent dry ice bomb explosion in a Los Angeles International Airport employee restroom caused flights to be halted from one terminal for several hours Sunday night, officials said.

There were no injuries or damage in the blast, which happened at about 9.30 p.m. local time (6.30 p.m. ET) near Terminal 2, Gate 27.

“In a restricted area of the terminal (not accessible to the general public), responders found evidence of a plastic bottle containing dry ice,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a written statement. “A chemical reaction caused the explosion.”

The Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad attended the scene.

Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC news the incident appeared to be a prank, but stressed the investigation was in its early stages.

They say a Swissport employee heard a loud explosion, walked to a men’s bathroom and saw an exploded 20oz plastic bottle.

The Transportation Security Agency halted the screening of passengers at the terminal for several hours, the FBI said, delaying departing flights. It has since fully reopened.

Three arriving flights were also affected by the suspension, which halted the transfer of baggage, according to LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

“The FBI and partners with LAPD, LAX PD, LA Fire, CBP, TSA and other officials will investigate the incident to determine the individual or group responsible,” Eimiller said.

The incident bears some similarities to the commotion caused by a dry ice bomb left in a trash can at Disneyland's Toon Town earlier this year, Brandon Lowrey of reported.

In that case, part of the park was evacuated. No injuries were reported and a Disneyland employee was arrested for allegedly placing the object.

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