An official with the Bathurst Regional Airport says a potentially dangerous package that shut down the airport for several hours Sunday "was never dangerous to the public."

Katherine Lanteigne, communications co-ordinator for the Bathurst Regional Airport, said two ramp agents at the airport found the package at around 4:15 p.m.

The employees, who were responsible for removing luggage from the plane, "applied all necessary measures" to ensure safety protocol was followed.

"When we receive packages that may be radioactive," said Lanteigne, "they have stickers on it or special mentions that have to be handled with care."

Lanteigne said the strap that was holding the package in place "might have torn or there was a little rip to the exterior of the package."

Lanteigne said the passengers were already in the airport at the time the package was discovered. Two airport employees were put in quarantine as a precaution.

The Bathurst Regional HAZMAT Unit tested the package. The concern was the package contains molybdenum.

The airport said it is potentially dangerous when exposed to moisture. But the HAZMAT team determined there was no possibility of exposure. The damage was only to the outside box. 

Passengers waiting to get on the flight to Montreal had to wait four hours until the scene was cleared. 

In a statement, Jazz Aviation spokesperson Debra Williams confirmed the contents of the package were "deemed as a possible dangerous good." 

Williams stated that "out of an abundance of caution"  the item was removed "using the appropriate procedures."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story quoted Katherine Lanteigne as saying the contents of the package were not radioactive. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was informed the damaged package contained radioactive materials. The CNSC said the container with the "nuclear substances" was not damaged and there "was no release of radioactive material."
    Feb 23, 2016 12:47 PM AT