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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A backpack left on a shuttle bus used to transit wounded U.S. soldiers to and from medical appointments at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center caused military authorities to evacuate four buildings Tuesday at Kleber Kaserne.

Erhard Eich, the bus driver, found what he described as a five-liter gas can tucked inside the green camouflage backpack, along with paperwork, after he dropped off two middle-aged Americans dressed in civilian clothes.

Army personnel cleared four buildings surrounding a bus stop where the passengers — a man and a woman — got off the bus at about 10 a.m. Eich said he thought the backpack was probably left by one of them.

"The rucksack was there and nobody [was] around," said Christel Kapahnke, a bus dispatcher for Branch Movement Control Team–Kaiserslautern. The contents alarmed the driver, who called Kapahnke to find out what to do.

"If it’s harmful, I cannot tell him ignore it and go ahead," she said.

It was the first such incident that Kapahnke, who has run buses for more than 16 years, could recall.

Military police and investigators quickly determined that the bag, despite its disturbing contents, wasn’t a threat. Air Force security police at the scene recommended the backpack and its contents be turned into the local lost and found.


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