Bear spray activated by janitor caused BNA evacuation, officials say

The bear spray made it past a TSA checkpoint, according to BNA.
The bear spray made it past a TSA checkpoint, according to BNA.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Nashville International Airport said a can of bear spray, inadvertently activated by an airport janitor, was the cause of an emergency evacuation on Sunday.

BNA officials said the bear spray made it past security, before being tossed into a trash can at BNA. A passenger told officials they realized bear spray was in their backpack after leaving a TSA security checkpoint, so they threw it away in a trash can prior to boarding their plane.

Video footage shows a custodian going through the trash, officials said, and accidentally activating the canister.

Photo of bear spray found at BNA.
Photo of bear spray found at BNA.(BNA)

“The item was bear spray missed during the security screening of a passenger’s carry-on bag and was later disposed of by the passenger in a concourse trash bin,” Transportation Safety Administration said in a statement. “TSA takes its role in transportation security and this situation very seriously and is continuing to review details with our airport partners to ensure appropriate corrective actions are taken.”

“Nashville International Airport is committed to the safety of its passengers, staff, and airline partners,” airport officials added. “We take these matters seriously.

One person was taken to Tri Star Summit with non-life-threatening injuries after the canister was activated, according to Metro Police.