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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s still a mystery as to what the white powder was that was found on a Southwest flight bound for Baltimore.

Andrea Fujii explains the substance caused some tense moments on board. 

As 137 passengers boarded a Southwest Airlines flight Wednesday afternoon from West Palm Beach to Baltimore, a crew member grabbed a tissue from the lavatory.

Millersville resident Shirley Tyndall saw what happened next.

“He pulled out a Kleenex out of the box and all this white stuff came toward him. And he inhaled it.  It was all over the floor,” she said.

Preparing for the worst, a hazmat team was called in and the plane was evacuated.

“Everybody was calm, just waiting to see what was going on.  And there were about eight or 10 fire trucks and ambulances,” said Tyndall.

Passengers were left outside on the tarmac for hours as crews determined the white substance was not dangerous.

“Did some preliminary testing on the material, which we considered to be inconclusive, and they sent the material down to Miami,” said Capt. Joe Nelson, Palm Beach County Fire.

Passengers were then able to reboard the plane.

“They did say don’t worry about it. We’re going to get you to Baltimore,” said Ted Task, passenger.

Six hours late, Flight 793 arrived in Baltimore with some irritation but no injuries.

“Everybody stayed pretty…grumbled and then kinda stopped grumbling,” said Marjorie Nagrotsky, passenger.

In total, two flight attendants were exposed to the white powder.  They both went through a decontamination process as a safety precaution.

The manufacturer of the tissue on board the plane says the description of the white substance sounds like it could be a product defect.


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