Airport evacuated after live missile found inside cargo container by worker

An airport in the United States had to be evacuated as bomb-disposal experts were rushed in to deal with a live missile found stashed in a cargo container.

The huge green bomb was stumbled upon by a contractor as he unwittingly opened up the container.

Airport bosses admitted they have no idea how the missile wound up there.

Usually, containers have inert missiles in them, but this S-530 air-to-air missile had explosives on it – essentially the equivalent of a loaded firearm with the safety on.

Bomb experts from the US Air Force scrambled to Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florida as thousands of passengers were evacuated last Friday.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the whole southeast side of the airport was evacuated for about four hours.

The container had arrived with pieces of a plane from a company called Dranken International, according to ABC.

Eugene Conrad, airport director, said: "I’ve been here for 10 years and Draken has been here since 2011, but this is a first."

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In a statement to local station WTSP on Monday, Draken International said in the process of evaluating shipments, its team discovered "an object with questionable markings indicating it may be explosive".

Their statement read: "Adhering to the explosive safety rule of exposing the minimum amount of people for the minimum amount of time to a potential explosive hazard, we made the decision to evacuate the facility, inform our surrounding tenants, and contact the appropriate authorities as soon as possible."

The missile is currently awaiting proper disposal after military experts disarmed it at the scene.

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Air Force 1st Lt. Brandon Hanner, a spokesman for the 6th Air Refueling Wing, told Military Times: "Our EOD team went out and secured the missile.

"It was live, but unarmed."

Hanner said he was told the missile was "like having a gun with a bullet in the chamber, but on safety."

He added: "Someone would have to arm the missile to fire it."

The military chief described the French-made s530 as being an air-to-air missile.

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