The Atlanta passenger cleared the security checkpoint with a bag that may have held a gun, the official said

(CNN) – The Transportation Security Administration has launched an investigation after an official said a gun may have been missing during a security check at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

A public official with knowledge of the incident told CNN that a passenger at the airport in Atlanta may have boarded a plane on Tuesday with a bag with a gun.

An investigation into hand luggage discovered an object on Tuesday that may have been a firearm, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The rucksack did not trigger an alarm when it was driven once more through the screening device, and the passenger was allowed to leave the checkpoint with the bag.

The TSA has not definitively identified the object and does not know the identity of the passenger.

“This is one in a million,” the official said.

What happened at the airport

The TSA said in a statement “there are unconfirmed reports of a lost firearm at the South TSA checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.”

“As a justifiable security measure, the TSA scanned the terminal for the passenger with the relevant hand luggage,” the statement said.

The official said that the TSA discovered the problem later during a routine review of screening technology images.

“When they saw it, the passenger was probably on a plane,” the official said.

The bag was set aside after triggering the alarm, but it was not moved properly for a more detailed hands-on screening. Officers eventually drove it through the bag screening unit again. It did not trigger an alarm, which the official believes was a technological error rather than a human one.

TSA spokesman Carter Langston told CNN that the incident is under investigation.

Weapons are found “at an alarming rate”

The agency said in a statement that its officers were finding weapons “at an alarming rate at checkpoints”. Last year set a record for firearms caught at checkpoints – although fewer people traveled due to the pandemic.

“I think more people are carrying weapons, just generally across the country, and whatever happens across the country we see reflected in our checkpoints,” TSA administrator David Pekoske told CNN in an interview at the time.

Penalties for bringing a gun to a checkpoint range up to around $ 13,000.

Top image: Travelers enter US customs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Camilo Freedman / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images)