San Francisco airport knife incident under investigation

Federal officials are looking into whether a pocketknife found on a Miami-bound flight indicates a security breach at San Francisco International Airport, but said they remain confident that the incident does not pose any dangers to fliers.

A small pocketknife was found on American Airlines Flight 442, which landed at approximately 9 p.m. Monday at Miami International Airport after a five-hour flight from SFO.

An airline cleaning crew found a blanket left behind on one of the seats that had a small folding knife folded inside it.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez said his agency is looking into the incident, but was loath to call it an investigation, per se.

He emphasized that the agency still thought it was safe to fly and said the TSA, concerned that the incident would cause undue panic among travelers, had tried to discourage Miami media from reporting the incident.

SFO spokesman Mike McCarron said airport officials have not been contacted about any investigation into the incident.

Several people have already touched the knife, so any fingerprint testing would probably not return conclusive data, Melendez said.

Furthermore, TSA officials said it would be too hard to determine how the knife got there. Melendez said, for example, that a member of the maintenance crew could have left the knife behind.

tramroop@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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