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Is that a bomb in your bag or are you a DIY enthusiast?

September 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A 26-year-old man travelling to Dubai triggered a major airport security scare on Tuesday – and the photo of what the scanners turned up shows why. As for his explanation, well, judge for yourself.

The image looks alarmingly like plastic explosive packed in a mobile phone.  Astute staff screening baggage in an X-ray machine at India’s Mangalore Airport spotted it.

Reports of the incident circulated in Indian media and were also picked up by London’s Sun newspaper. The discovery of the suspicious “clay-like” item in a mobile phone triggered a full alert, and delayed take-off of an IndiGo flight from Mangalore to Dubai.

Police were called and a man was detained.

Security photo of device after phone was opened. Twitter

Early reports suggested there was confusion as to whether the device contained explosive, with sniffer dogs giving a “mixed signal”.

Here’s the surprise: apparently the device was later identified as a “handmade power pack” with Mangaluru Police Commissioner TS Suresh telling Times Now News: “It was a self-made power bank and after thorough check it was allowed to proceed”.

It certainly looks suspicious, with red and yellow electrical wires, what appears to be a sliver battery and a brown-coloured material.

A theory mentioned by the Sun was that the incident could have been a “dry run” by a shadowy “terrorist sales rep” or arms dealer trying to show potential customers how easy it was to get the device through security and onto a plane. If true, the attempt failed.

Given that speculation, the carrier of the phone must have given police an extremely convincing explanation to be allowed to walk free.

IndiGo tweeted: “IndiGo’s alert security screener staff at Mangalore caught a suspect carrying alleged cellphone bomb today. The matter has been reported to the local police. Since it is a sensitive security matter we have nothing more to share.”

Written by Peter Needham

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