Footage shows how a brave airport worker grabbed hold of a smoking bag right as it exploded.
Ricardo Perez saw something was wrong with the bag, and immediately reached to take it and put it between two pillars, where passengers would be shielded if there was a blast.
‘There were folks all over. Bag went and started smoking,’ he told News 6.
‘I approached it, I radioed and then I picked up the bag and brought it over to that handicap sign over there in hopes that if it would go off, it would be able to have some of the shock absorbed by those two pillars.
‘I was so close to the bag. Let me get it out of the way.’
He didn’t know what had caused it at the time, and feared the worst.
It was actually smoking because a lithium battery from a camera had burst into flames at Orlando International Airport on Friday.
‘(I’m) a lot relieved that it wasn’t a worst-case scenario because it could have been and a lot of people hurt,’ Ricardo said.
He joined the TSA (Transport Security Administration) in the US after the September 11 attacks, feeling he needed a way to serve his country.
‘I lost a few friends, TSA became available and I figured that was the way to serve my country again,’ he said.
The smoking bag caused disruption to flights, with several hours of delays.
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority spokesman Rod Johnson told WKMG that passengers were evacuated: ‘As a result of the incident, a ground stop was issued and a number of flights were held while passengers were allowed back into the building and security checkpoints reactivated.’