- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Authorities shut down the Williston airport for several hours Thursday while they investigated an unidentified device in the terminal, and frustrated passengers waited to hear whether their flights would be rescheduled.

A “suspicious” device was found at Sloulin Field International Airport about 3:15 p.m., Williston police Lt. David Belisle said. The airport was evacuated, and a bomb squad from Minot was called in. Williston police said later Thursday that the situation was cleared without incident and authorities left the scene around 7.30 p.m. An airport employee said it reopened about 8 p.m.

Stranded passenger Martonio Williams arrived at the airport expecting to board a 4:50 p.m. flight to his hometown of Las Vegas. Instead, an armed plainclothes officer told him the airport was closed, so Williams went outside and sat under a tree while waiting for an update.

“I’d pay double to get on a flight right now,” he said.

Some people milled about outside while others sat in their vehicles or went home.

Pilot Ray Johnston had been planning to fly home to Watford City. He left his small plane sitting on the tarmac while he went to the restroom, and when he came back, he was told he also had to evacuate.

“If I’d made it five minutes earlier I would have made it out of here,” he said.

Williston in in the northwest corner of the state. The nearest airports are in Dickinson, about 130 miles southeast, and in Minot, about 125 miles east.

Sloulin Field has a single small terminal, which handles about a dozen daily commercial arrivals and departures. It’s located in the fastest-growing micropolitan area in the nation, and has seen its number of departing passengers grow from 8,500 in 2007 to 186,000 in 2013.



Sloulin Field International Airport: https://www.flywilliston.

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