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Passengers are let back inside Santa Maria airport after evacuation

The Santa Maria Public Airport was evacuated for about four hours this afternoon when security screeners reported a suspicious bag.

Passengers were allowed back into the airport around 5 p.m. after no threatening devices were found, according to General Manager Chris Hastert. The device was first reported about 1:15 p.m., Hastert said.

Hastert said two departing flights were delayed — one on United Airlines bound for Los Angeles and an Allegiant Airlines flight bound for Las Vegas.

The United plane was on the ground in Santa Maria while ticketed passengers remained in the terminal and adjacent Radisson hotel, Hastert said. The Allegiant plane bound for Santa Maria remained in Las Vegas, he said.

Hastert said he did not know what item screeners found in the bag.

It was the first such evacuation in the past year, Hastert said.

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