May 6, 2010 3:59 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Police evacuated all but one person from a bus Thursday after a passenger reported an explosive device on board. The remaining passenger was being questioned on board the bus.
Police say someone on the bus carrying 17 passengers called authorities about the suspected explosive device, leading police to surround the vehicle and evacuate nearby buildings and streets.
The emergency call came after the bus' arrival in Portsmouth around 11:30 a.m. and was "based on someone's observations," Police Capt. Mike Schwartz said. He had not heard of any threat being made.
The driver "received a report of suspicious activity" while making the routine stop on the trip from Bangor to New York City and followed his training to secure the bus and notify police, Greyhound spokeswoman Maureen Richmond said.
Police were in contact with people on the bus, but it was unclear why they remained on board for more than two hours before they started to leave. They left the bus one by one - separated by a couple of minutes each - and carried no purses or bags. Most held their hands aloft as they passed officers with their weapons drawn.
The passengers were screened individually when they got off the bus - much like an airport security check - and were to be taken to the Portsmouth police station. None appeared to be injured as they left the bus; Schwartz said one was taken to a hospital because of a medical condition.
The state police explosives disposal unit and the FBI were on the scene, and restrictions were put on air travel in the area, which kept television helicopters from flying overhead at closer than 3,000 feet (900 meters).
The driver got off the bus after he parked it on the side of the road and also was being questioned, police said.
The bus was parked with its flashers on, between a municipal parking garage and a hotel. The hotel, garage and other area businesses had been evacuated, and streets have been closed.
The bus originated in Bangor, Maine, and made a stop in Portland before reaching Portsmouth, a scheduled stop. The bus was scheduled to continue on to Boston and ultimately New York City.