State's terrorism scares continue

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2001

Some airplanes in Alaska were grounded for about an hour Friday after a suspicious package was found on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, near a Federal Aviation Administration building.

Other concerns about possible terrorism Friday caused officials to close the Anchorage Federal Building and force a corporate jet leaving Anchorage for Washington, D.C., to land in Canada.

Friday's first scare happened at 8:25 a.m. after a delivery person left a package inside a visitor center on Elmendorf Air Force Base.

The FAA has a statewide air-traffic control center across the street from the visitor center. Concerned it might have to close the station because of the package, the FAA stopped planes from taking off from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Cold Bay, Bethel and King Salmon.

Alaska Airlines, Era Aviation and Peninsula Airways reported slight delays on at least 14 flights before air traffic resumed about 9:20 a.m.

The package was pharmaceuticals destined for the 3rd Medical Group at the base, an Elmendorf spokesman said.

About 1,300 workers were evacuated from the Anchorage Federal Building at noon Friday because three packages addressed to the Bureau of Land Management were postmarked from the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, D.C., said John Murphy, Federal Building security manager. Two Brentwood employees died last week from inhalation anthrax.

Preliminary tests showed no anthrax bacteria, Dr. Bernard Jilly, chief of Alaska Public Health Labs, told the Anchorage Daily News. The Federal Building is scheduled to reopen Monday.

A Gulfstream executive jet flying from Japan to Washington, D.C., with a fuel stop in Anchorage, was ordered to land in Brandon, in southern Manitoba, said Bob McDonald, Brandon Airport general manager.

Brandon police said the plane - owned by AOL Time Warner - was diverted because a malfunction or faulty procedure transmitted a signal that could be taken for a hijacking alert. The plane continued to Washington, D.C.

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