A passenger looks out the window at Miami International Airport in Miami
A passenger looks out the window at Miami International Airport in MiamiReuters File

A Venezuelan doctor learned it the hard way that it is never funny to make a bomb joke His ill-timed gaffe led to the evacuation of the Miami International airport, and earned him a fine of around $90,000.

Dr Manuel Alvarado, 60, will have to pay $89,172 for his "momentary lapse of reason in making these statements", which prompted costly evacuations and delays for airlines, and brought out a police bomb squad, his lawyer Brian Bieber told AFP.

The airport bomb joke incident took place on 22 October at the Miami International Airport from where Dr Alvarado was supposed to board an Avianca flight to Bogota. However, at the security desk screening, when the airport staff asked Dr Alvarado routine questions like what was he carrying in his bags, the Venezuelan doctor responded with a chuckle that he was carrying C-4 explosives.

The conscientious and alert security staff raised an alarm that led to the closure of the airport and a mass evacuation and the bomb squad was called.

Even though Dr Alvarado was quick to correct himself, the situation spiralled into a 'terror alert.' "He is extremely remorseful. He had no intent to place anyone in fear. He made what turned out to be the worst mistake of his life," Bieber said.

Dr Alvarado will pay the fine in a deal that saw prosecutors agree to drop charges of making a false bomb threat and criminal mischief. The foreign national can return home, after he coughs up the fine amount.

Since the 9/11, the airports have been extra-vigilant and any bomb hoax is treated with utmost sternness.