A “preventable, unprofessional mistake, that turned a good intention to protect citizens into an international problem,” is how the head of Slovakia’s Border and Foreigners’ Police agency, Tibor Mako, called the incident involving luggage containing explosives that started at Poprad-Tatry airport and ended in Dublin during a press conference at the airport on January 6, the SITA newswire reported.
It was stated that the involved police officer put two samples of explosives among passengers’ luggage on a flight scheduled for Saturday January 2 and an explosive-sniffing dog found one of them. The second sample was stuck to the backpack of a Slovak citizen flying to Dublin who had not been informed and the police officer forgot about the second sample and did not inform his superiors, only the airport administration, which contacted the pilot shortly before take-off. The pilot decided to continue with the flight.
The Poprad-Tatry airport informed the Dublin airport through a telefax during the flight and asked them to check the luggage of the passengers to find the explosive, according to Mako, but the Irish airport failed to find the explosive. The Slovak police then informed the Irish police on Monday evening, January 4, when the Slovak citizen, age 49, was also contacted. On Tuesday, January 5 the Irish police surprisingly seized not only the explosive (which was not usable without other parts and devices) but also detained the Slovak for half a day before releasing him. This type of training and testing has now been suspended and a disciplinary proceeding has been launched against the officer. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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6. Jan 2010 at 14:00