ORLANDO, FL (KFVS) - An agent with the Transportation Security Administration is being hailed a hero after running toward danger in a crowded airport over the weekend.
Surveillance video from the Orlando International Airport shows passengers in line at a checkpoint react when something inside a backpack exploded and started smoking.
It happened on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Officer Ricardo Perez, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, swooped in and ran the bag away from travelers. Perez put the bag between a concrete column and a concrete planter in hopes of mitigating any harm that might come should the bag explode.
Investigators originally thought there was an improvised explosive device in the bag, but it later turned out to be an exploding battery in a passenger's backpack.
"Our TSA Team's performance was outstanding. I'm very proud of our team and how they responded to both the incident and the recovery process of rescreening passengers," said TSA Federal Security Director Jerry Henderson. "Our people responded as they are trained to do, and to lead passengers to safety. I am especially proud of our Officer who unselfishly rushed to a potentially deadly situation in order to protect lives."
A spokesperson for the TSA said that some people panicked and went running through security checks without being screened, so agents directed a ground stop at the airport and ordered more than 5,000 passengers be rescreened.
More than 100 flights were affected as agents performed a security sweep of the airport.