MRYTLE BEACH, S.C. - Transportation authorities screening passengers at a South Carolina airport believe an 80-year-old woman was unaware that the walking cane she got years earlier disguised a hidden sword, until she tried to get through airport security.
Transportation Security Administration regional spokesman Mark Howell told reporters about the unusual discovery Thursday during a news conference at Myrtle Beach International Airport.
"She had no clue it was in there," Howell said, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News. Her son gave her the cane as a gift years before she learned it concealed a weapon, he said.
When the handle of the woman's cane was twisted and pulled, it "revealed a hidden sword nearly the length of the cane," the newspaper reported. She was forced to abandon the cane with security officials before boarding her flight.
Howell told reporters the situation is not uncommon.
"People pick them up at a thrift store and the sword isn't found until we X-ray it," he said, according to the Sun News.
Howell shared the story while highlighting some of the dangerous items that people attempt to take with them through security at Myrtle Beach International Airport.
TSA Regional Spokesperson, Mark Howell, displays prohibited items surrendered by passengers, in the last month at MYR,...Posted by Myrtle Beach International Airport on Thursday, February 9, 2017
He emphasized that any items that look like weapons – including toy guns and "squishy stress balls that look like hand grenades" – are not allowed on planes, The Associated Press reported.