bag taken off flight

HOUSTON - A baggage handler in Houston discovered a ruptured, smoking suitcase while loading luggage on to an outgoing international flight on Tuesday.

HOUSTON - A baggage handler in Houston discovered a ruptured, smoking suitcase while loading luggage on to an outgoing international flight on Tuesday.

Fire crews and bomb specialists were examining the bag, officials said.

The baggage handler reported hearing a "pop" and seeing vapour coming from inside the bag as luggage was being loaded onto KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flight 662 from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Amsterdam, airport spokesperson Marlene McClinton said.

The handler carried the bag away from the plane and terminal and called authorities.

Bomb crews hit the suitcase with a water gun and were examining it late Tuesday afternoon, assistant fire chief Jack Williams said.

He said there was no explosion and no injuries.

McClinton said authorities quickly determined the bag posed no threat.

She said airport operations weren't affected.

Neither she nor Anthony Black, a spokesperson for KLM partner Delta Air Lines, knew whether the suitcase had been matched to an owner.

KLM is cooperating with the investigation, Black said.

The Boeing 747-400 was set to depart about five hours late Tuesday night, with 221 scheduled passengers and 13 crew members aboard, he said. - Sapa-AP

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