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PHL Airport Evacuated Over Garlic  
User currently offlineElectech6299 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 616 posts, RR: 3
Posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2954 times:

Related news story:

Garlic Sparks Airport Scare

Hmmm... I wonder if they just smelled it, or if the chemical sensors were actually triggered. The report isn't clear. A local DC news agenct (WTOP News) reported it differently:

Garlic Forces Passengers From Airport


That says the bag set off a bomb sensor. so who says it was the garlic paste? Is that a known sensitivity to the explosives wipes? Should I avoid Chinese and Thai before a trip to a secured facility where these explosives detectors are used?

Unrelated, but one time during a construction project, garlic crates were brought in to haul away some of the demolition debris. The work was done at night in an occupied building. Well, the next day, the entire wing was evacuated because they thought the smell was from a hazardous chemical leaking from the locked construction site. I showed them the chemical they thought it was- which was odorless, and not leaking. Just goes to say- what you can smell is significantly less hazardous than what you can't! (albeit a little more unpleasant...)



:edit for clarity

[Edited 2005-12-02 03:28:52]


Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNewark777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 9348 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2928 times:

I've heard that once in a while golf clubs also set off the "swab test," or whatever that thing is called, because of the fertilizer left over from the grass. I wonder what other common items can set it off. Could be a fun experiment.  Smile

Harry



Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
User currently offlineAseem From India, joined Feb 2005, 2046 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2862 times:

some passenger returning from either India or Italy. Or maybe he burped.  Smile
cheers!!
VT-ASJ



ala re ala, VT-ALA ala
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7510 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2706 times:

Quoting Aseem (Reply 2):
some passenger returning from either India or Italy. Or maybe he burped.

Either that or he was needed the garlic paste to ward off vampires.  duck   Silly



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlinePHLJJS From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2641 times:

The airport was not totally evacuated. The CTX machine in that terminal is located in the ticketing lobby. The people in that area were sent outside while the crews inspected the bag. The security checkpoint remained and terminal remained open. AA ticketing was closed for that time. This was just a case of the machine giving a false positive. This was an unfortunate incident and surely a pain in the ass for everyone involved, but was handled by the book. As always the news reports make it sound worse than it actually was. Hopefully soon we will be able to get better equiptment so that this won't happen again.

User currently offlineElectech6299 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 616 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2540 times:

Quoting PHLJJS (Reply 4):
This was just a case of the machine giving a false positive.....Hopefully soon we will be able to get better equiptment so that this won't happen again.

Thanks for the info- yes, it sounded to me like that, and the media was intentionally vague to make the story more interesting. My question remains, however- does garlic paste typically cause a false positive? Was the "hit" related to the garlic at all, or was that detail intermixed by the media? I do quite a bit of analytical testing myself and am no stranger to "false" positive (or negative) results, but it helps when interferences are known. As Newark777 mentioned, it's an interesting study- but one with particular public relations and security concerns....

(If it's a security issue regarding the test method, forget I asked...)



Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee
User currently offlinePHLJJS From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2484 times:

The density of the garlic paste is probably similar to that of some plastic explosives, much like peanut butter and blocks of cheese. The CTX machine will sound an alarm whenever it detects an object of that density. Now there's a couple of ways to solve an alarm and clear the bag. CTX machines have the ability to let you see a 3D image of the bag and the suspect item and sometimes you may be able to clear the bag by looking at it at a different angle. Checkpoint Xray machines have no such ability. The Officer may elect to take the bag and hand search it and ETD swab test the bag to clear it or in this case, after looking at the on screen image, probably noticed the dense Object and some wires or an electronic device that was in the bag and looked as if it was "attached" to the dense object.(garlic paste) I'm just speculating on this as I was not there. The Officer then got a supervisor, who after reviewing the image notified an airport police officer. That police officer then shut down and cleared the area and called for the fire dept. and a bomb sniffing dog. Not the bomb squad. The bomb squad is not always at the airport. They are only there during a code orange or code red terrorism alert and are only called if the dog signals that the bag has explosive residue in or on it. After full inspection of the bag, the TSA officers and the police try to determine what caused the "alarm." In this case the only item in the bag with "correct" density was the garlic paste. The media heard that and went to town. Typically most food items will set off the machine. It just depends on what else is in the bag and how it looks on the screen and that determines how the situation is handled.

[Edited 2005-12-03 05:19:40]

User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2371 times:

Quoting Newark777 (Reply 1):
I wonder what other common items can set it off.

Nitroglycerin pills will set it off. My bag gave a false positive in DCA two years ago and the TSA girl became very worried very quickly. Luckily a supervisor yelled at her for using a known broken machine before she could call in the calvary to take me out.



"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
User currently offlineElectech6299 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 616 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2369 times:

Quoting PHLJJS (Reply 6):
CTX machines have the ability to let you see a 3D image of the bag and the suspect item and sometimes you may be able to clear the bag by looking at it at a different angle. Checkpoint Xray machines have no such ability. The Officer may elect to take the bag and hand search it and ETD swab test the bag to clear it

OK, that makes sense. I had assumed it was an ETD swab that was triggered, having no info on standard ops at PHL. At many security checkpoints I go through (mostly government facilities) they do the swab test routinely, but I have never seen a false positive on them. (hence the curiosity) I have seen the dogs fail often tho- usually because of fuel or pepper products- and then the bag/person/vehicle in question ends up getting a very thorough hand search.



Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee
User currently offlinePHLJJS From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2357 times:

This incident did not happen at a security chekpoint. It occured in the lobby, in front of the ticket counter with a passenger's checked bag not his carry-on. ETD tests are usually done if the bag is reported to be suspicious by the CTX machine. In this case it seems that after reviewing the image and believing that there may actually be an explosive device in the bag, they called for the police and a dog. I don't believe an ETD was done on this bag.

[Edited 2005-12-04 07:34:00]

User currently offlineElectech6299 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 616 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2346 times:

Quoting PHLJJS (Reply 9):
This incident did not happen at a security chekpoint. It occured in the lobby, in front of the ticket counter with a passenger's checked bag not his carry-on. ETD tests are usually done if the bag is reported to be suspicious by the CTX machine.

OK, that makes much more sense to me now. I guess I missed that at first. Thanks!



Send not to know for whom the bell tolls...it tolls for thee
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