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Lufthansa pilot caught with deadly slingshots

The Local · 12 Apr 2011, 14:54

Published: 12 Apr 2011 14:54 GMT+02:00

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A spokesman for Frankfurt customs confirmed a report in Tuesday’s edition of daily Bild that the 30-year-old co-pilot was nabbed when the illegal weapons were found in his bag after a flight from Los Angeles.

He was also carrying 286 steel ball bearings, which are used as ammunition.

A criminal investigation had been launched, the spokesman said.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman said the airline was helping the investigators with their inquiries. She refused to comment on possible consequences for the pilot and stressed the man was being investigated rather than the airline.

Customs officers found the slingshots during a random bag search. A close-range, the high-powered devices could cause fatal injuries, the spokesman said.

The United States has liberal laws on such weapons. Nevertheless, slingshots were rarely found on passengers returning from the US because bags were usually strictly screened before a person boarded a plane in a city like Los Angeles.

It was particularly rare for airline staff to breach such clear provisions, he said. It was normal for customs to randomly search the bags of crew members, he added.

Story continues below…

The case was handed over to the state prosecutors’ office. The pilot was potentially in breach of both weapons laws and air safety laws.

DPA/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:59 April 12, 2011 by whpmgr
OK now., I live in Los Angeles and I can't remember the last time anyone was killed with such liberally allowed dangerous weapons. But if you think about it, if he shot a terrorist with one of these, he wouldn't pierce the skin of the aircraft and it would be safer than a gun with the new fragmenting bullets the sky cops use.

As for the slong shots themselves, just let honest Germans carry a gun and he wouldn't have chosen such a primitive weapon.

I'll bet that a great deal of aircrew bags will be searched now. He sure messed it up for the rest of the people bringing in contraband in their crew luggage. Reminds me of the guys going to South America in teh USAF back in the 80's. They'd come back with all kinds of surprises under the aircraft skin.....
16:11 April 12, 2011 by Gretl
Maybe he was going to use them against boar in his cornfield, or dogs running the deer....
16:14 April 12, 2011 by Landmine
Maybe he wanted to go gopher hunting?
16:48 April 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
a length of Surgical Tubing and a rigid frame is all that is needed to construct a slingshot. This is just dumb. Ball bearings? ?

He was probably bringing some home for his Nephews. Slingshots are hardly deadly. They might blind or crack a skull, but so can any number of things. slingshots are slow to reload, is there a real threat here? from this pilot. If he wanted to hurt someone, isn't he already in the Cockpit....? This just seems silly, and a waste of Tax money.
17:02 April 12, 2011 by tallady
Unbelievable, arrested at the airport possibly in front of crew and passengers ,over a sling shot and only two. When I was a teenager every one had one.
17:33 April 12, 2011 by Flint
Aren't pellet guns legal in Germany? You could kill someone with a pellet gun shot to the temple much more easily than with a slingshot.
17:42 April 12, 2011 by DinhoPilot
He was planning attacks on German soil. He works for a new sindicate that wants to raise to power and take over Europe... BEWARE... They wanted to use the slingshot to down military and civil aircraft and to shot politicians. Thank God someone stopped him, otherwise who knows what would be tomorrow in the news!

"Slingshot armed pilot, attacks Reichstag a-la-mumbai, number of victims undetermined..."

18:08 April 12, 2011 by jbaker
The comments above are Good. The Article is useless.
18:20 April 12, 2011 by munchingmuschiinmünchen
Finally, The Revolution has begun!
18:38 April 12, 2011 by derExDeutsche
'A close-range, the high-powered devices could cause fatal injuries, the spokesman said.'

yeah, like, if you happen to fall and impale yourself on one, or swallow one of them accidentally.
19:35 April 12, 2011 by auniquecorn
I bet when he gets out of jail, he´ll build another slingshot and shoot out all of our windows.
19:49 April 12, 2011 by Lachner
I didn't know that slingshot and deadly could go in the same sentence. Are they serious? He was probably bringing it back for a child or to have some fun in his backyard. I think they are overreacting!
20:05 April 12, 2011 by PatCannon
This why we bombed Schweinfurt in 1943!
21:04 April 12, 2011 by whpmgr
No we bombed Schweinfurt over bad strudel. We bombed Stuttgart for the Sling shots. You must have gotten your "S's" mixed up....
21:07 April 12, 2011 by time4troy
whpmgr, he did not have it on board as CARRY ON Luggage. It was checked in luggage. :-).... And he is not in jail, he is just being investigated to see if he has any record or involved in anything criminal. No charges have been filed. He might have just wanted it for fun or something without knowing it wasn't legal in germany.
23:18 April 12, 2011 by The-ex-pat
So he will be charged with international ball bearing smuggling then.
23:45 April 12, 2011 by Altdude
Short term for Ball Bearings: BBs
00:01 April 13, 2011 by Lachner
Perhaps they will find out after the investigation, that the co-pilot is a notorious pigeon serial killer!!
00:30 April 13, 2011 by germinator
damn, where do you get that Lufthansa luggage? That's some rad old-school design!
00:48 April 13, 2011 by Freeman
While we are homing in and checking out this possibly criminal minded individual. Real under the table arms deals are probably taking place.
09:06 April 13, 2011 by tobyjug

Tchibo last week online shop still has them


as for the story being silly!! well it made lots of us smile so a good start to a Wednesday morning!!!
10:18 April 13, 2011 by Meringer
While I agree this is overtop in an age of paranora, I must point out some things. 1) He knew he was braking laws and regulations wether they were stupid laws is beside the point, if you cannot have a pair of fingernail clippers or a bic lighter you cannot have a weapon. 2) It is a weapon, I know we all think of slingshots as the toys we had as kids, but there are some really powerful ones that are used for hunting, and yes, they could kill someone. The part I don't understand is that I used to have one, I bought it in Germany, go figure. and 3) Air crew luggage should be checked everytime, just like all passengers, not just for weapons, but for illegal items like drugs, etc.
10:58 April 13, 2011 by KBCraig
Perhaps they were half inch ball bearings? ZOMG, .50 cal ball bearings can take down an airliner over a mile away!

In other news, Germany has banned rocks and sticks because they can cause fatal injuries at close range.
13:10 April 13, 2011 by taiwanluthiers
The plane he's flying is far deadlier than a slingshot...
17:29 April 13, 2011 by germinator
@tobyjug thanks for the link!
21:34 April 17, 2011 by crm114
in this sense BB is not an abbreviation for ball bearing rather for the birdshot gauge BB circa 4.5mm. Clearly Deutsche Post where unaware of the legality of armrest catapults when they so helpfully "nachgepackt" my illegal import on Friday when its load of BBs broke free in transit.
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