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Bomb scare diverts US-bound German flight

AFP · 27 Dec 2009, 13:24

Published: 27 Dec 2009 13:24 GMT+01:00

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A spokesman for the airline told reporters that the flight from Frankfurt on Saturday with 160 people on board was carrying luggage from a passenger who was not on the plane.

As a precaution, the pilots landed the Airbus A330 in Iceland, where the baggage was removed. The flight then continued on to Detroit with a delay of about two hours.

The spokesman declined to comment on media reports that security experts feared there were explosives on board, but noted that all luggage in Frankfurt is X-rayed before being loaded onto planes.

"At no time was there a threat to security," he said.

It was not immediately clear how the luggage turned up on the plane without its owner.

The incident came as a 23-year-old Nigerian was charged in the United States with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam as it was preparing to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.

Story continues below…

Airports worldwide, including Germany's largest in Frankfurt, have since tightened their security measures considerably.

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Your comments about this article

16:12 December 27, 2009 by mixxim
You have to laugh, we British have at last found a nation with an even dumber visa section than our own. A few years back I remember reading of a couple having bought an action man soldier not being allowed to take it to the UK to present to their grandchild because of a three inch plasic rifle in the box. However the terrorists can bring on bomb making equipt..... Seriously though, people arriving from countries with lax security should have to go through more rigorous checks before transferring to other flights. I believe that no such checks are made on transfer passengers.
08:35 December 28, 2009 by 1FCK_1FCK
And surprise, surprise, the US Transportation Security Administration (a misnomer if ever there was one) now institutes more useless, time-wasting procedures for passengers before they can board a plane. The TSA has always been more interesting in the appearance of security than actual security. If they truly wanted to make flights secure they'd buy those full-body scanners for every damn airport. Instead we continue to pour obscene amounts of money down the toilets otherwise known as Iraq & Afghanistan. My country (USA) continues to show that we have the dumbest, least responsible people in charge of any western democracy. Washington, DC is Clown College.
14:04 December 30, 2009 by Lacoleht
This incident shows either a failure of the robust baggage reconciliation system (BRS) at Frankfurt airport (which is hard to believe) or loading staff (along with supervisory security staff?) at the point of loading not paying heed to the BRS' warning (human error?).

Nevertheless we should applaud those astute but underpaid personnel for the difficult work they try to accomplish. The fact that the error was detected albeit later shows how they follow through on their work.

Of course all baggage had been X-rayed prior to loading. Nevertheless due procedures were carried out by Lufthansa. Thank you.

Security measures try to place as many filters as feasible to make a breach of security that much harder. Sadly we see many security companies employing any one willing to work at the meager wages they offer to work in often difficult conditions.

So, regulators can do more. For a holistic approach, bring in mandatory security profiling. Enforce strict criteria as to who can be employed to undertake such roles. Security profiling by competent and suitably trained personnel is a filter we can ill afford not to have. It would be counter productive to explain its merits here. Suffice if experts in the field would convince regulators.

If this offends some communities, because they are identified with those who try to cause willful damage, let the majority of their peace loving members take responsible community level action to prevent the further spawning of such radicals. This could prevent their own children from being brainwashed and commissioned for self-destruction by cowardly old men with misguided dreams of personal glory. Security is and will remain a shared responsibility.
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