How Airport Dog Training Inadvertently Prompted A Terror Scare In 2010

12 years ago today, a passenger landed in Dublin, Ireland, and made his way home with 90 grams of explosives in his baggage. They were planted in the traveler’s bags by Slovak officials before his flight.

A320 Silhouette
There were concerning scenes following a flight to Dublin from Slovakia. Photo: Getty Images

A series of failures

On January 2nd, 2010, Danube Wings Flight V5 8230 left Slovakia’s Poprad-Tatry Airport and headed to Dublin Airport with 90 grams of RDX. The explosive substance had been placed in a man’s luggage as part of a sniffer dog effectiveness test for checked-in bags.

The dog was a “good boy” and detected the substance, but the security team failed to do their bit and remove the explosives. As a result, the passenger’s bag was loaded onto the flight to the capital of Ireland.

Officials also failed to intercept the luggage, and the passenger was allowed to hop on the aircraft and land at Dublin Airport. Security checks are seldom performed for arrivals in Dublin. Additionally, the passenger was lucky not to have to go through a random customs check, avoiding a bomb scare at the airport.

Danube Wings was a Slovakian airline that ceased operations in 2013. Photo: Björn Strey via Wikimedia Commons

Drama to come

Oblivious to the explosives, the passenger picked up his luggage and made his way home to the city. There were additional mishaps to follow, resulting in dramatic scenes in the subsequent days.

“In a further security blunder, the police did not contact gardaí here for three days, although they claimed they had sent a telex. Their phone call yesterday morning prompted a massive security operation, with gardaí cordoning off a busy road junction in Dublin’s north inner city and evacuating a block of flats, other homes and businesses,” the Irish Examiner reported at the time.

“Gardaí raided the man’s apartment on Dorset Street and requested the army’s bomb disposal team to recover the explosives – 90g of commercial explosives, known as RDX, used by military and industry – from the man’s baggage. It was not primed, was in a stable condition and could not have exploded on its own. The 49-year-old Slovak electrician was arrested under anti-terrorist legislation. He was released in a couple of hours after gardaí conducted further inquiries.”

Airport security dog
The dog’s efforts went in vain thanks to human error. Photo: Getty Images

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Could have been critical

The police expressed the man’s innocence, sharing that he had lived in Dublin for three years. He was simply returning to Ireland after visiting Slovakia for Christmas.

Overall, it could have ended much worse for the passenger amid the several outcomes that can occur during the travel process. Even though the substance needed an initiator and detonator, there was around enough to build two hand grenades. Ultimately, it could have been a sorry situation if the explosives were detected by officials during his journey.

What are your thoughts about this incident that occurred in Slovakia and Dublin a decade ago? What do you make of the overall situation? Let us know what you think in the comment section.