A flight attendant ran barefoot from a security screening at Los Angeles International Airport, leaving behind about 70lb (31kg) of cocaine in her luggage and a pair of Gucci heels, say authorities.

Federal authorities are hunting for the woman, who was selected for a random search on Friday by Transportation Security Administration officers.

She was directed to a secondary screening area, but she dropped her two carry-on rolling suitcases and her pair of shoes and before bolting down an upward-moving escalator, say officials.

Marshall McClain, president of the union representing Los Angeles Airport police officers, estimated the drug haul was worth $2m.

He said the case underlines why all flight attendants should be routinely screened.

“With her bringing this amount of narcotics in the airport, chances are this wasn’t her first time through,” said Mr McClain.

The TSA prefers random searches, arguing that blanket screening of all employees would cost too much.

Aviation employees and contractors have been under scrutiny since the December 2014 arrest of several Delta Air Lines baggage handlers on gun-smuggling charges.