ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A man traveling from India to visit relatives in St. Louis caused a security breach Tuesday morning when he got lost and wound up in secured baggage handling area.
According to Jeff Lea, a spokesman for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, the 68-year-old man left the Terminal 1 baggage claim just after 10 a.m. to look for family members who were planning to pick him and his wife up. He got lost and walked through a ramp-level security door. An airport worker and airport contractor had just used the door but it had not fully closed.
Lea said airport personnel with access to secured areas are required to make sure all doors are fully closed behind them when entering such areas.
Minutes later, two other airport employees saw the man walking in an airline operational area for arriving luggage. They followed the man after seeing he did not have a security badge. They detained the man and attempted to question him, but he did not speak any English.
Airport security was contacted less than five minutes after the security breach occurred.
Federal investigators and airport authorities questioned the man and determined he was not a security threat. The man was reunited with his wife and local relatives.
As a result of the breach, the airport suspended both the airport worker and contractor, pending the results of an investigation and retraining.