Man allowed to board plane after bomb confiscation
By Nicole Halseth, News Editor
According to an article published by BBC World News, “a man in Edmonton was allowed to board a flight after a pipe bomb found in his bag was confiscated by airport security.” CBC News also reported that one of the security guards at the Edmonton International Airport even attempted to hand the bomb back to the passenger in question.This passenger was 18-year-old Skylar Vincent Murphy, from Spruce Grove, Alberta. He was allowed to board a plane to Mexico for a week-long family vacation, even after this bomb was found in his carry-on bag by airport security officials. After inspecting the device, a camera apparently caught a guard returning the bomb to the passenger. He was reportedly told several times that he could keep the device. The teenager, however, refused to take the bomb back. The RCMP was not notified of the event until four days later.
The explosive device was reportedly 15cm long and packed with gunpowder. According to BBC News, Murphy “claimed to have forgotten it was in the bag after making it with a friend for fun some months before.” Though he admitted to making the bomb, Murphy apparently just “accidentally” took it to the airport, according to CBC News, after he placed it in a camera bag following its creation in February 2013 and forgot about it. When Murphy returned to Canada he was arrested in the airport. Following this incident, Murphy pleaded guilty and was charged 100 dollars.
In response to this incident, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has apparently suspended several security officers. All involved personnel were disciplined, and had to complete additional training.In a statement to CBC News, Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Federal Transport Minister, said it was “unacceptable” that Murphy was allowed to board the plane and continue his journey following the discovery of his bomb possession. “The safety of Canadians and the travelling public is our government’s top priority,” Raitt told CBC News in a written statement. She continued with “this individual should not have been allowed to board his flight, and it is unacceptable that [CATSA] waited four days before seeking the RCMP’s assistance.”
Apparently, in an email to CBC News, the spokesman for CATSA, Mathieu Larocque, responded that he understood these concerns and that numerous preventative measures have been taken to discourage similar incidents in the future. He wrote “CATSA has completed a full review last fall of the incident. During the course of its review, CATSA concluded that the RCMP should have been contacted earlier in the process as per our procedures.” He continued by stating that “corrective actions have been taken and those involved in the incident were disciplined and required to take additional training. We have also updated screening officers’ training material across the country and put more emphasis on our procedures.”
This incident raises important questions about the state of airport security throughout the country. Hopefully, CATSA will be able to prevent such missteps in the future and ensure the continued safety of air travellers in Canada.