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MidAmerica Airport partially evacuated; Police investigated

MidAmerica Airport opened for flights at 5pm. Sunday after closing for more than three hours for a suspicious item.

A carry-on laptop brought in by the security department had "suspicious wires" in it, according to Capt. Bruce Fleshren of the Sheriff Department of St. Clair County had a partial evacuation of the boarding area.

From 17 o'clock Sunday the airport opened for normal traffic. Flights to Destin, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale have been canceled. Flights to Las Vegas, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Punta Gorda were delayed.

The suspect item was found to be harmless, Fleshren said. It was a laptop with a hard drive.

Passengers were taken from the boarding area to another part of the terminal after the Transportation Security Administration officials secured the laptop, Fleshren said. The bomber group of the Illinois State of State Police was contacted to inspect the laptop.

Several hundred people were standing in the security area, waiting to hear news about the horror.

Anna Carey, who returned to Jacksonville, Florida after visiting her parents in Missouri, said she was not particularly disturbed by the delay.

"I travel alone, so it's okay," said Carey. "You have to do what you need to do … It's just something that happens, I think."

Courtney Johnson, who flew from Orlando, Florida, to MidAmerica, said her plane had been on the tarmac since about 2:00 pm. Sunday, waiting for a gate. Crews aboard Johnson's flight told the passengers that they were still on board for their safety.

Allegiant responded to the tweets of several people on Sunday and explained what was going on and thanked them for their patience.

MidAmerica Airport tweeted at approximately 4:30 pm, about three hours since the investigation began.

"We value all of our travelers and their patience today as the authorities do what is necessary to make them safe again for all flights," the tweet says.

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