The Transportation Security Administration apologized to New York Giants player A.J. Francis after he hammered the agency for spilling his mother’s ashes during a baggage search earlier this week.
Francis, a defensive tackle for the Giants, tweeted a photo of his open suitcase on Monday with an expletive-filled message for TSA.
Carrie Leanne Francis died on June 26 at the age of 46, according to ESPN.
TSA’s “Ask TSA” Twitter account, which handles customer complaints, responded quickly, offering the agency’s apologies and condolences.
“Our officers are trained to handle your carry-on and checked property with care,” the message continued. “Out of respect for the deceased, under no circumstances should the container be opened.”
Since it appeared that someone had opened the container of ashes Francis put in his checked baggage, TSA said it would investigate further.
In a statement to HuffPost on Tuesday, TSA said a video review showed that Francis’ checked bag was searched for an unidentified object at Los Angeles International Airport.
“A TSA officer discovered the unidentified object was an opened, unmarked ceramic container, wrapped in aluminum foil inside a small bag,” the statement continued. “The TSA officer completed screening of the checked bag, clearing it to continue to its destination. The container was carefully repacked and placed in the bag.”
The agency also said it recommends taking cremated human remains in carry-on baggage, but each airline has specific requirements that can be difficult for travelers to accommodate after the death of a loved one.
When a follower asked Francis why he put the ashes in a checked bag, he said Delta Airlines required a death certificate, which was still in the mail to him. The length of time required to obtain a death certificate varies by state, but it can take multiple days to several weeks to receive.
On its website, Delta states that a death or cremation certificate is required to put remains in carry-on luggage. Along with TSA, the airline suggests travelers put the remains in a wood or plastic container, which can be easily X-rayed.
“TSA is not allowed to open the container under any circumstance. You can check cremated remains, as long as they pass through security screening,” the site adds.
Francis tweeted that he was not interested in speaking to the media about the incident because it’s upsetting and still raw. He continued to blast TSA for spilling the remains, saying he was not upset that his bag was inspected, but that the container was not replaced properly so its contents would not spill.
The Giants announced they signed Francis to the New York team in May.