Sidney RCMP confirm the suspicious items that closed the Victoria International Airport for several Tuesday were inert military surplus explosives.
The incident began shortly after 1:30 p.m. when a passenger arrived at the airport to check-in their baggage.
RCMP said a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) employee conducted a typical scanning process of the bag when they noticed it contained two suspicious looking items that appeared as incendiary devices.
The departures area of the airport was closed off at the recommendation of explosive disposal experts.
“As the investigation progressed a second bag also belonging to the same individual was discovered, this bag could not safely be scanned or examined,” said Cpl. Andres Sanchez of the Sidney RCMP detachment.
Sidney / North Saanich RCMP conducted a brief investigation and immediately took the man who claimed responsibility for the bag into custody.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and with consultation with both NavCan and Victoria Airport Authorities, it was decided that the departures wing would be temporarily closed to ensure the safety of the public,” said Sanchez.
The airport was closed until members of the RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) from Vancouver could confirm the contents in the bags.
Upon arrival, they removed and examined the bags and quickly determined the items to be decommissioned military grenades.
“As always, the security and safety of our staff and visitors is our priority, said Geoff Dickson, Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) President and CEO.
Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday night, Victoria International Airport announced that the security incident had been resolved and the airport reopened.
“RCMP determined that there was potential risk to airport staff and passengers and directed that parts of the air terminal building close,” added Dickson.
The closure of the airport resulted in the cancellation of about 20 scheduled flights between 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to a media release from the airport Tuesday night.
RCMP are reminding travellers to confirm the items you are travelling with are permitted on aircraft or that you have prior permission to travel with certain items.
The individual who brought the bags and items has been released with an upcoming court date.