There was a bomb scare last week at the Hollis ferry terminal, prompting a building evacuation and causing the InterIsland Ferry Authority’s ferry to turn around and head back to Ketchikan.
All for a broken alarm clock.
IFA General Manager Dennis Watson said it was about 2:30 Thursday afternoon – the day before the 9/11 anniversary – when an IFA employee at the Hollis terminal on Prince of Wales Island found a suspicious-looking item in the trash can.
“Our terminal manager was not at work that day, so she called her up and she came and looked at it and was also very concerned and called the troopers,” he said. “The troopers came and took a look at it and said we was everyone out of the buildings, we want a 300-foot blast zone around the area.”
Watson said troopers took photos, and looked at the terminal’s surveillance video to see who had put the item in the garbage can. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said they were able identify that person.
“After doing some investigation and looking at surveillance, we were able to contact the person that threw the item away and it turns out it was just an
alarm clock that had gotten broken and so they discarded it,” she said.
Watson said the item in question was not obviously a broken clock.
“I saw a picture of the suspicious item, and I definitely would have called the troopers in on it,” he said. “It looked like the real deal.”
Peters said the employees who called troopers to investigate did the right thing.
“We do appreciate people being cautious and that’s what should happen when there’s any kind of suspicion surrounding devices, especially when it comes to our travel everywhere,” she said. “But this one, it seems it was a broken alarm clock so the person threw it away.”
While troopers were investigating the device, the ferry that makes daily runs between Ketchikan and Hollis was ordered to turn back to Ketchikan. Watson said once they got the all-clear, the ferry started again for Prince of Wales, and got in about three hours later than its usual arrival time.