Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Police ‘forgot’ to take explosives off plane

A baggage-handling company missed the crucial telex that was sent to warn Irish authorities that explosives were on a flight to Dublin.

As the blame game into the Slovakian bomb fiasco continued, it emerged that the police officer who “forgot” to remove the deadly RDX from a passenger's bag will face prosecution.

Senior police chiefs in Slovakia have now admitted that they would not have allowed the flight to leave Poprad-Tatry Airport if their officers had alerted them to the mistake.

They have also produced a copy of the telex that was sent to warn Dublin that the explosive material was on board the flight.

However, while Slovak police claim that the notice should have been sufficient warning, they actually sent it to baggage-handling company Servisair.

The company confirmed yesterday that they received the message but refused to say when it was picked up.

A spokesperson said: “All that information is now confidential because it's in the hands of the police.”

The revelation came as a massive blame game developed between the Irish and Slovak authorities.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) yesterday reiterated that the first it knew of the danger was on Tuesday morning when they notified gardai and a major security operation was launched.

A DAA spokesperson said they “definitely did not” receive any other communication from Slovakia.

She also confirmed that Servisair did not forward them the telex or inform airport police of its contents. In turn, Servisair said they receive hundreds of telex messages every day and said that the airline involved “did not follow emergency procedure”.

Their representative said: “The captain knew about this and did not tell our staff. I think you have to direct the question to the airline itself. He could have refused to fly the plane.”

For its part Danube Wings say that the safety of passengers was never compromised.

Yesterday the head of border policing in Slovakia offered his resignation. However, the Government has decided not to fire Tibor Mako and will instead punish an officer who has not been named.

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