Source says pipe bomb was initially handed back to man passing through EIA security
Video: An 18-year-old man was allowed to get on a plane at Edmonton’s international airport in September, even though security confiscated a pipe bomb from his carry-on bag. And as Francis Silvaggio reports, no one informed police until four days later.
EDMONTON – An airport security screener who seized a pipe bomb from a passenger in Edmonton gave it back before other screeners stepped in, Global News has learned. It’s the latest twist in a shocking story that had the federal transport minister blasting airport security after first being reported here two days ago.
Global News learned that on Sept. 20, what appeared to be a pipe bomb was pulled from a man’s carry-on at the Edmonton International Airport.
The passenger, 18-year-old Skylar Murphy of Spruce Grove, was allowed to board his flight; and it wasn’t until four days later that the RCMP was called in to investigate.
Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt said Wednesday that should not have happened.
“The safety of Canadians and the travelling public is our Government’s top priority. This individual should not have been allowed to board his flight, and it is unacceptable that CATSA [the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority] waited four days before seeking the RCMP’s assistance,” she said in a statement.
“I will be calling the President of CATSA today to ensure the organization takes further action to better protect the safety of Canadian travellers.”
Wednesday evening, Global News spoke with a person who saw the entire situation unfold at EIA. The person, who has asked to remain anonymous, says the pipe bomb was clearly visible on the X-ray machine. According to this source, the screener searched the bag, but gave it back to Murphy. It wasn’t until other screeners stepped in that the device was confiscated.
WATCH: Former CSIS agent, Michel Juneau-Katsuya, slams air security agency for pipe bomb breach
On Monday, CATSA told Global News it can’t apprehend a passenger if something illegal is found. It can only call police. It said it has policies in place to determine when that happens, but wouldn’t go into any further detail.
“Our job is to screen passengers and their belongings, and make sure that threats or potential threats…don’t make their way to the aircraft…and that’s what happened on that day,” said Mathieu Larocque, a spokesperson for CATSA.
Larocque added that the organization looks at every incident and how things could have been handled differently. He wouldn’t say then whether this incident prompted any change of procedure at EIA or any other airport in the country.
Following Raitt’s statement on Wednesday, Larocque had the following to say:
“We understand the Minister’s concerns and direction. The security of the traveling public is CATSA’s top priority.
“We want to assure the travelling public that we have taken steps to ensure that it does not occur again. 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. 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.”
In relation to this incident, Murphy was arrested and charged with possession of an explosive substance on Sept. 27, when he returned to the country.
In December, Murphy pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive substance. He was sentenced to one year of probation, and given a $100 fine.
With files from Quinn Ohler and Tom Vernon, Global News.
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