Jet searched in LA for explosives missing at French airport
December 4, 2004
LOS ANGELES – Authorities searched an Air France airliner at Los Angeles International Airport early Saturday for several ounces of explosives that disappeared during a French police training exercise at an airport outside Paris, officials said.
No explosives were found on Flight 70, which arrived late Friday from Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Three other airliners that had left Charles de Gaulle were searched at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International, said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Norm Brewer.
After searching the planes and baggage claim areas, “Results have come back clear and no unclaimed bag has been found,” the agency said in a statement.
French military police had been using the explosive material to train dogs to detect bombs, but they lost track of a piece of luggage containing an unspecified type of explosive, authorities said.
The 362 passengers and crew members on Flight 70 were evacuated and screened.
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About 100 flights left the French airport before police realized the explosives were missing. Only four of those flights came to the United States.
French police said the explosives were harmless, and there was no chance of their going off, since no detonators were connected.
As part of the training, authorities at Charles de Gaulle placed up to five ounces of plastic explosives into a passenger’s luggage Friday evening, police spokesman Pierre Bouquin said.
But a “momentary lack of surveillance” led to the bag being lost on a conveyor belt carrying luggage from check-in to planes, he said.
“These dogs must be trained in the most realistic situation possible … to be the most effective,” Bouquin said. “Indeed, it’s possible that someone will have a surprise when he opens his bag.”