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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Fed up of airport frisking, man cries bomb, ends up missing flight to Bangkok

According to officials at security agencies, because of a high-leve alert being sounded, they had put in place secondary ladder point checking (SLPC) under which passengers, despite being checked by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) before entering the departure area, are checked again by airline staff just before they board.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2019 09:39 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The passenger was offloaded by the airline and handed over to the local police.
The passenger was offloaded by the airline and handed over to the local police.(PTI FILE)
         

A Sikkim-based traveller was so exasperated by a second layer of frisking at Kolkata airport before boarding the plane that he yelled he had a bomb in his bag. The man was promptly detained by security personnel and missed his Kolkata-Bangkok flight.

According to officials at security agencies, because of a high-level alert being sounded, they had put in place secondary ladder point checking (SLPC) under which passengers, despite being checked by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) before entering the departure area, are checked again by airline staff just before they board.

“Around 4 pm on August 20, staff of Thai Smile Airlines flight WE 348 was conducting SLPC when a 36-year- old man said ‘please do it fast , I have a bomb in my handbag’. The airline staff informed the CISF and the bomb disposal squad, along with the dog squad and quick reaction team, rushed to the boarding gate area. The passenger and his handbag were checked but nothing suspicious was found,” said a CISF official, requesting anonymity.

The bag was put through the explosive trace detector and explosive vapour detector and scanned by an X-ray machine before it was opened for a physical check, but security agency found nothing. The passenger was offloaded by the airline and handed over to the local police.

“The airports are on alert in view of multiple security threats and we are not taking any chance. Passengers are advised to reach the airport early as long queues are reported at the security check point. Despite this some passengers get irritated and enter into an argument with security personnel,” said another CISF official.

In a similar incident on August 15, a 61-year-old man, travelling to Colombo from Cochin airport on Srilankan Airlines was detained when during the SLPC he shouted that he had a bomb. The CISF followed the same drill but nothing suspicious was found. In October, 2017 a woman travelling to Leh was detained for shouting “bomb” during frisking.

In February 2016, a Delhi-based exporter and a friend were offloaded after he claimed he was carrying a bomb; he was to take a flight on which Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was travelling.The aircraft, which was about to take off was again checked for explosives and departed 90 minutes late.

CISF has to take such incidents seriously, officers said. “Security of airports is of utmost importance and such instances are treated as possible threats. The security personnel have to be confident that passenger is not a threat to other passengers,” the first CISF officer quoted above added.