Package with incendiary item, surplus military supplies shuts down Victoria airport

The discovery of a suspicious package forced the shutdown of Victoria International Airport on Tuesday, stranding hundreds of travellers and prompting the cancellation of most flights.

In all, about 20 flights were cancelled between 2:30 and 8:30 p.m.

"As always, the security and safety of our staff and visitors is our priority," said Geoff Dickson, Victoria Airport Authority president and CEO, in a statement.

"The RCMP determined that there was potential risk to airport staff and passengers and directed that parts of the air terminal building close."

Earlier, Cpl. Andres Sanchez of the Sidney-North Saanich RCMP told reporters something that "resembled an incendiary device" was found inside a bag at around 1:30 p.m., during security screening in the airport's departures area.

"Employees performed the checks that they normally do," Sanchez said. "They scanned the bag and realized that there was items inside that could be of a dangerous nature, and at that point police were called to the scene to investigate further."

The passenger who carried the bag into the airport is under investigation as well, according to the RCMP. Sanchez said it was too early to comment on possible charges.

A specialized team was brought over from the mainland to transport the suspicious package out of the airport and determine what's inside.

In a statement, Vancouver International Airport told CTV News it was monitoring the situation, and was "working with (its) partners to accommodate any diverted aircraft."

At about 8 p.m., an update was issued saying the issue was resolved and the airport had reopened.

"The call for service is confirmed to have been an incendiary item and inert surplus military supplies contained in checked baggage," a statement issued by the airport after the incident was resolved said.