Crime & Public Safety

The Hilton Head airport was evacuated Monday afternoon, police say. Here’s what happened

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With Delta Airlines announcing new direct flights from Hilton Head Island, the airport will fly to five cities starting in the spring of 2019. Here's where they'll take you — and how much a flight could cost you.
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With Delta Airlines announcing new direct flights from Hilton Head Island, the airport will fly to five cities starting in the spring of 2019. Here's where they'll take you — and how much a flight could cost you.

The bomb squad responded to the Hilton Head Island Airport late Monday afternoon when an employee noticed suspicious bags sitting in a corner, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.

After about 20 minutes, when no one had moved the bags or claimed them, the employee called police, the report said.

One bag was a white carry-on that had blue anchors on it and the other was a white garbage bag, according to the report.

Multiple deputies secured the area as one of them reported to the fire department to review the video surveillance to see who had left the bags. A woman sitting outside the building matched the description of the person seen leaving the bags in the video, so a deputy interviewed her, the report said.

After initially denying that she had left the bags in the airport, the woman admitted they were hers when deputies told her they had surveillance footage.

She told them she was going through a divorce and lost her apartment so she left the bags for her ex-husband to pick up, the deputy wrote in the report.

The woman wasn’t able to tell deputies what exactly was inside the bags.

Because of this and the fact that the woman was showing “signs of impairment” in that her eyes were bloodshot, she was slurring her words and having difficulty walking, the bomb squad responded to the scene as a precaution, the report said.

Town of Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue, EMS and Hazmat also responded to the scene.

The scene was cleared and the bags were found to just have “miscellaneous items” inside of them such as clothes, jewelry and papers, the report said.

The woman took a cab to a nearby hotel and planned to fly out the next morning, the deputy wrote.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.

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