Florida airport evacuated after a live missile was found in a cargo container
French-made S-530 air-to-air missile was found in a shipping container at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florida.
A contractor working at Lakeland Linder International Airport was shocked to find a live missile in a container. This discovery was shocking as Lakeland Linder is an airport for private jets and is therefore not associated with the military. The missile was found Friday afternoon and the airport was evacuated immediately.
Air Force bomb squad was called to remove the missile.
Shortly after the missile had been found, bomb disposal experts were called to remove the warhead. Daily Mail reports that it was live but not armed. The distinction between these two things is explained by Air Force 1st Lt. Brandon Hanner, a spokesman for the 6th Air Refueling Wing:
It was like having a gun with bullet in chamber, but on safety. Someone would have to arm the missile to fire it. It was live, but unarmed.
It is unclear how the missile ended up at Lakeland Linder International Airport.
The container is reported to have originally belonged to Draken International, an aerospace and defense company. Business Insider claims that the company has spoken about the explosive discovery to a local news station as they said:
Draken International, in the process of evaluating arriving shipments discovered something questionable and potentially explosive. Adhering to the explosive safety rule of exposing the minimum amount of people for the minimum amount of time to a potential explosive hazard the decision was made to evacuate the facility and its surrounding neighbors and contact the appropriate authorities. Draken takes its roll in the community seriously and always wants to ensure it performs safe and reliable operations.
Moreover, airport director Eugene Conrad explained: “I’ve been here for 10 years and Draken has been here since 2011, but this is a first”.
Thankfully, nobody was harmed and the missile was safely removed from the airport.