Police halted operations at the main airport serving Bergen Tuesday morning, after baggage handlers were alarmed by a suitcase that had been checked in. They feared it contained explosives.
Police evacuated the terminal and later expanded the areas that were cordoned off, reports Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). All flights were suspended and a crew of bomb experts from the Oslo Police District was sent to examine the suitcase.
They would be allowed to land at the closed airport, known as Flesland, but weren’t expected to arrive until around 9:30am. That indicated the airport would be closed for several hours.
Terje Hilland of the Hordaland Police District couldn’t specify what set off the alarms at the airport, other than to say that baggage handlers “have seen things that they think can be an explosive device.” He said “that can be a bomb, and that’s what we’re checking out.”
Military bomb experts were also called in, and Hilland said it would “take some time” before the airport could re-open. Police were also working to trace the suspicious suitcase to the person who had checked it in.
Passengers were evacuated into the freezing pre-dawn outdoor areas in front of the arrivals terminal and later moved to a local hotel. Trond Magnus Berg, on his way to Las Palmas in Spain, told NRK that passengers initially weren’t given much information as they were pushed further and further back from the terminal building.
“Now they (police) have expanded the evacuated area to beyond the taxi stand,” Berg told NRK.
The airport closure occurred just before 7am, at the height of the morning commuter rush. Passengers due to fly in or out of Bergen were being advised to contact their airlines, and terminal chief Alf Sognefest said anyone due to depart on flights Tuesday morning “can just as well stay home.” Only helicopter traffic was operating as normal.