Report: TSA agent at OIA spilled remains of man's grandfather

TSA says it is looking into complaint

Published On: Jun 26 2012 10:38:42 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2012 05:29:44 PM EDT
TSA Transportation Security Administration Logo
ORLANDO, Fla. -

An Indianapolis man said a Transportation Security Administration agent at the Orlando International Airport spilled his grandfather's remains during a security inspection, according to reports.

The ashes were in a jar labeled "Human Remains," John Gross told reporters the agent opened the jar and stuck her finger into the ashes.

"They opened up my bag, and I told them, 'Please, be careful. These are my grandpa's ashes," Gross said. "She picked up the jar. She opened it up."

Gross said he was dividing up the ashes among his family members and that he clearly labeled what it was.

"I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine," he said. "So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it."

Gross said the security line kept moving as he said he frantically struggled to scoop up the ashes.

"She didn't apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn't pick up all, everything that was lost," Gross said.

TSA released a statement to Local 6, reading:

"TSA recognizes the importance of treating human remains with respect and dignity, including those accompanying the remains. For that reason, we use a variety of techniques in the screening process to ensure the safety of all travelers. Under TSA policy, under no circumstance would the container holding the remains be opened. We are looking further into this complaint."

Gross said he wants an apology from TSA and an explanation for what happened.