Powder Triggers Scare On Alaska Air Flight

April 23, 2011

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Hazardous materials crews investigated an Alaska Airlines flight with 150 people on board at John Wayne Airport in Orange County on Friday after a flight attendant found a powdery substance that was ultimately found to be harmless, authorities and the airline said.

The substance, which was spotted in a restroom on board Flight 508 while the plane was in the air bound to Orange County from Seattle, was determined to be a powdery residue from tissue or toilet paper.

"En route, a flight attendant pulled a tissue out of the lavatory and a white dust came out," Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.

"The crew notified the Orange County airport officials, who had a hazmat team meet the plane when it landed there at 4:13 pm," Egan said. "The substance was tested by the hazmat team and found to be harmless."

John Wayne spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said the plane was evacuated when the plane arrived at the airport.

Egan said the airline did not consider it an evacuation because the passengers were allowed to deplane normally and not using emergency slides.

The plane was parked at the southern end of the airport, away from flight paths, to allow for normal operations while the substance was evacuated.

Passengers were held until the all clear was given and then allowed to leave, Wedge and Egan said.