Airport workers sacked after Chicago security blunder

Three security workers who allowed a man carrying knives, a stun gun and tear gas through a checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago have been sacked, the private company that employed them said.

Three security workers who allowed a man carrying knives, a stun gun and tear gas through a checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago have been sacked, the private company that employed them said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Saturday’s lapse at the United Airlines checkpoint staffed by Argenbright Security employees. Federal officials have described it as a major security breakdown.

The three employees, including a supervisor, were fired yesterday for reasons related to the security lapse, and an X-ray screener resigned, said Brian Lott, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Argenbright.

The company said four other employees suspended after the security breach would be reinstated in jobs at O’Hare.

The seven knives, the stun gun and the tear gas were found by United employees during a hand search at the gate.

A statement from Argenbright, which is under contract with United and American at O’Hare and provides similar services at a number of other airports, did not say specifically why the three were fired.

Subash Gurang, 27, of Chicago, a Nepali living in the United States on an expired student visa, was arrested by Chicago police after the items were found in a plastic bag that he apparently intended to carry aboard.

He was charged with two misdemeanour offences and released on bail.

FBI agents arrested him again later on a federal felony charge of attempting to carry a weapon aboard a jetliner, when he returned to the airport to retrieve his luggage.

He was due to appear at a hearing before US Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow today.

United Airlines spokeswoman Chris Nardella said the company would make no comment on the sackings.

Chicago Aviation Commissioner Thomas Walker said in a statement that it was ‘‘good to see a follow-up of the commitment made’’.

‘‘We hope they will complete the remainder of the investigation ... and move on to training and improving services,’’ Walker said.

City Aviation Department spokeswoman Monique Bond had said that background checks of seven of the suspended employees found two had previous brushes with the law, but none had criminal convictions.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox