Soldier finds fireworks stashed on Southwest flight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --

A soldier who found fireworks on a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Kansas City said airline workers did not take the situation seriously.

Sgt. Markus Bell was flying from Las Vegas to Kansas City on emergency leave from the U.S. Army. He told KMBC's Cliff Judy that he was surprised enough to find fireworks under his seat on the plane, but he said he was shocked by airline workers' response.

"I was actually kind of nervous to turn them in because I'm like, 'They're going to think these are my fireworks and I'm going to be tackled and taken off,'" Bell said.

Bell said he asked around, looking for the owner.

"I was like, 'Are these your fireworks?' They were like, 'No.' So I told the flight attendant about it and that's when he proceeded to ask the captain of the plane, and basically said it was OK to have fireworks on the plane," Bell said.

The Transportation Safety Administration bans fireworks from all flights.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement after grounding the plane just before takeoff, saying a flight attendant found a plastic bag and the TSA was immediately called.

Bell said the response was slow, and Southwest allowed more passengers to board before grounding the plane.

"I was just kind of dumbfounded for sure. I thought that if you can't have a lighter on the plane, then a firework -- that's an explosive device -- that's definitely something that could cause some damage like with the shoe bomber," Bell said.

All passengers were ushered off the plane so it could be inspected. The plane took off an hour behind schedule after authorities said they found no threat.

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