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BWI pier evacuated, searched


More than 1,500 Southwest Airlines passengers were evacuated yesterday from a pier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport because of what airline officials described as a faulty X-ray machine at a security checkpoint.

Five flights were grounded during a security sweep that lasted nearly two hours, and the malfunctioning screening device was shut down.

Federal Aviation Administration officials ordered the evacuation of Pier B at 11:30 a.m. because of a possible security violation detected by a device that X-rays carry-on luggage, airline officials said. The pier is used exclusively by Southwest, which operates 137 flights daily from BWI.

Law enforcement authorities conducted a sweep of the concourse with bomb-sniffing dogs.

The disruption created a line of Southwest passengers that stretched the length of the airport terminal. The pier reopened at 1:16 p.m.

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