An unattended item prompted a bomb scare at San Francisco's Ferry Building today, forcing the suspension of ferry service and the evacuation of the ferry terminal area for about an hour, passengers and Coast Guard personnel said.
Fire trucks, police and Coast Guard crews with bomb sniffing dogs descended on the Ferry Building for what ultimately turned out to be a false alarm that delayed some commuters during the after-work rush hour.
The bomb scare about a mile away from AT&T Park, where Major League Baseball's All-Star Game was being played.
Joann Piccardo, a paralegal from Novato who works in San Francisco, was in line at about 5:45 p.m. for the Larkspur ferry when she noticed the boat that she was supposed to be boarding for a 5:55 p.m. departure sat idling offshore.
"They had diverted all the incoming boats from the pier," Piccardo said. "Then the loudspeaker came on, but you couldn't understand what they were saying, so people were very confused about what was happening. Someone in the crowd said, 'They said we need to evacuate.' "
Passengers were directed around the far side and front of the Ferry Building, Piccardo said.
"We decided to go across the street because you never know," she said with a laugh.
A Coast Guard officer at the scene who declined to give his name said the suspicious item turned out to be a brief case with papers and some kind of satchel. Security teams swept the area, including bringing a bomb sniffing dog onto at least one docked Baylink ferry. A team of coast guard officers with a dog left the boat at about 7:30 p.m. A Coast Guard spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
By 7:15 p.m., Piccardo was back in line with about 150 other passengers who boarded the Larkspur ferry after service resumed.
San Francisco Chronicle
Bomb Scare Forces Evacuation of SF's Ferry Terminal
Apparently there was another identical bomb scare story at the SF Ferry Building during the week of March 10, 2008, but search engine queries yielded zero results. Or was this a recycled news item?