ST. LOUIS - "I was selected to give a talk at the Soy Bean Breeders Conference.” said Anne Alerding.
That’s what brought the Lexington, Virginia resident to St. Louis, but Alerding's broken wrist brought her together with Fox 2's Mike Colombo.
“It was slippery and muddy and I fell and broke my radius,” added Alerding.
The Plant Biology professor at Virginia Military Institute spent her Sunday evening at DePaul Hospital. With orders to see a wrist surgeon back home, Anne decided to cut her trip to St. Louis short.
“I was hoping they could put me on an earlier flight instead of Wednesday leaving today,” said Alerding.
But while going through a TSA screening Monday morning at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Anne set off alarms.
“I guess I had explosive residue alarms go off after they rubbed the splint,” said Alerding.
Anne says more screenings followed, but TSA wasn’t going to let her give her a pass.
“I said please can you call the hospital, I’ll show you pictures of the break. I’m sure it’s just residues that are similar chemically to whatever their bomb explosives are. They didn’t offer any kind of assistance. They just escorted me to the exit.” added Alerding.
While Anne pondered her next move, Fox 2's Mike Colombo contacted TSA and the hospital. A representative for DePaul Hospital told Colombo the cast Anne received was made of soft fiberglass and none of its components would’ve contained explosive residues.
TSA responded by saying its officers were unable to clear the issue and the passenger was unable to complete the screening process. TSA respects the rights of all passengers and remains committed to ensuring the security of America’s transportation system.
“I understand we should be secure and I guess there could be someone posing as someone that was hurt,” added Alerding.
Some good news to report. After our calls to TSA and the hospital, Anne went back to DePaul Hospital where her soft cast was re-wrapped. She then returned to Lambert, got through security and got on a flight headed back home to Virginia. While it's still unclear what the explosive residue was or how it got on Anne, TSA tells Fox 2 that what happened to today is very rare. Anne was the first person denied entry at Lambert in more than three years.