Bag containing inert hand grenades shut down Victoria airport

Victoria International Airport reopened late Tuesday after commercial flights were cancelled for much of the day following the discovery of a pair of inert hand grenades and other surplus military gear in a passenger's luggage.

Police are pursuing a charge of mischief against the airline passenger, who has been released from police custody while the investigation continues.

The airport was closed and all commercial flights were cancelled around 1:30 p.m. after baggage scanners saw what appeared to be a pair of hand grenades inside a bag in the airport X-ray machine, RCMP Cpl. Andy Sanchez said Wednesday.

Another bag belonging to the same passenger was discovered in the departures area. Sanchez said that bag could not be scanned so the decision was made to call in the RCMP bomb disposal unit from the Lower Mainland.

Travellers were asked to avoid the airport for several hours while the bomb disposal unit was en route.

At around 8 p.m., the airport issued an update saying the disruption was over 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," the airport statement said.

"We don’t normally see grenades or incendiary devices come through [the airport]," Sanchez said Wednesday. "At this stage police are going to be investigating a charge of mischief."

The RCMP spokesperson said the traveller is not known to police.

Airport operations were expected to return to normal Wednesday, though lingering delays are expected due to the volume of flights that were cancelled and rerouted Tuesday.