A small explosive — described as more than a cracker, but less than a bomb — was found on a Kingfisher flight on Sunday morning in a major breach of security shortly after it landed in Thiruvananthapuram.
The ground staff found the explosive wrapped in a newspaper during a routine check of flight IT 4731 from Bangalore after its 27 passengers had deplaned, said Kingfisher. The plane was promptly isolated as bomb experts set to work.
<b1>An official of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security described the bomb as “a crude-sort of an explosive, resembling a firecracker”, without a timer of a detonating device. Two wicks were also found in the package.
The nature of the explosive will be known after laboratory tests, said Thiruvananthapuram Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar.
The fact that an explosive — of whatever size and intensity — made it past the tight anti-terror security at an airport alarmed authorities. Till late in the evening, authorities still didn’t know who placed the explosive, where and when.
“The only possibility is that it was put at the time of loading of baggage or at the time when it was being unloaded in Thiruvananthapuram,” said U K Bansal, Special Secretary (Internal Security) at the Union home ministry, in Delhi.
The plane reached Bangalore on Saturday night from Thiruvananthapuram. It took off for the return journey at 6:30 am on Sunday.
Union home ministry sources said airport workers were being questioned in both Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.
Security officials said the explosive was wrapped in a copy of a Kerala daily, Malyalam Manorama, dated January 13.