Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips will be getting a letter from the Transportation Security Administration telling him how much his fine will be for carrying a disarmed hand grenade in his carry-on luggage at Will Rogers World Airport.
Coyne, of Oklahoma City, was on a trip to Los Angeles on Nov. 10 when a TSA agent spotted a hand-grenade in his bag at a security checkpoint.
The agent closed the checkpoint and began protocols for dealing with a live bomb. The TSA explosives expert was not on duty at the time but quickly arrived and determined the grenade, painted gold, had been deactivated and posed no threat. According to police reports, Coyne said the grenade, which had a hole in the bottom, was a gift given to him at a party in Arkansas.
The west security checkpoint was closed. While people in line behind Coyne missed flights during the one-hour security delay, most were rebooked and sent on their way.
Neither Coyne nor Flaming Lips manager Scott Booker could be reached for comment.
Coyne tweeted an apology and posted a photo on Twitter next to the etched-glass depiction of the Flaming Lips at the airport, along with a status update.
“Sorry Sorry Sorry! Everyone that was inconvenienced because of my grenade at OKC airport!!” Coyne wrote on Twitter.
Since then, the story has been twisted all sorts of ways by websites everywhere.
Kevin Donovan, TSA’s federal security director for Will Rogers, described the incident.
“One checkpoint was closed for less than an hour, not the whole airport,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Our Transportation Security Specialist-Explosives guy was not on-site. He got there and cleared everything up.”
Donovan said the whole event went by the book.
Coyne’s mistake is not expected to result in any criminal charges, but he most likely will be subject to a fine, Donovan said.
“Pending completion of our investigation, there could be substantial fines for Coyne,” Donovan said.
Events like this are more common than the public knows.
Donovan is glad to use the incident to remind people to be careful what they bring to the airport. With holiday travel picking up now, travelers should check all their bags for contraband items.
“In Oklahoma City, people bring firearms. They forget they’ve got them in their bags and check them and that does cause a real problem,” he said. “Please, check and make sure guns are left at home.”
According to the police report, Coyne said he should have known better. He was released after the incident.
The Flaming Lips are a Grammy-Award winning band from Oklahoma City; the Lips’ song “Do You Realize??” is the official rock song of Oklahoma.