NEW ORLEANS, La. (KLFY) — Airport officials in New Orleans found a passenger traveling with a human umbilical cord in their luggage earlier this month. As unusual as it is, authorities say this isn’t the first such find this summer.
The incident happened on Aug. 2 at the Louis Armstrong International Airport. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a specialist located the umbilical cord after referring the passenger traveling from Honduras for a secondary inspection.
When questioned, the passenger told officials the cord belonged to a relative, a press release stated.
Customs contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Houston, which advised that it could be abandoned or held. The passenger chose to leave the umbilical cord, as well as the accompanying medical wristband, behind, authorities said, and the items were incinerated.
Permits or qualifications are required to bring certain biological materials into the U.S., according to Customs.
A similar discovery by Customs was made in late June on the same recurring flight between Honduras and New Orleans. In that incident, a traveler was found with a bag containing “paperwork, a positive pregnancy test, and an unknown tissue sample” that turned out to be an umbilical cord, according to the release.
“With the vast number of daily travelers, our officers are guaranteed to encounter some unusual items,” Mark Choina, acting area port director of New Orleans, said in a statement. “However, two umbilical cords, a month apart, coming from the same country is noteworthy.”
Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released its list of the most unusual finds of 2021. Topping the list was a chainsaw, also found at Louis Armstrong International Airport.