Fake grenade caused airport threat delaying United Airlines at Frankfurt

On August 3, officials at Frankfurt Airport discovered something suspicious in a woman’s bag that seemed to be a hand grenade, causing the flight to be delayed for nearly an hour on the ground. The jet was a United Airlines Boeing 767 traveling from Frankfurt Airport to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

Federal Police alerted the captain regarding the hand grenade discovered in a piece of baggage of United Airlines flight 814. The grenade-like toy was discovered when all checked baggage bound for a flight is subjected to security inspections before being sent to the plane.

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The seized steampunk sculpture with a fake hand grenade at its top . Photo from Federal Police

At around 17:15, an employee checked baggage observed something unusual inside the bag that looked like a hand grenade on the x-ray. The employee then contacted federal authorities. Officers from the airport police department asked specialized persons who are equipped to deal with bomb threats.

According to data from FlightRadar24.com, flight UA814 had already departed the gate area at 17:20, beginning its taxi to the runway. The plane came to a halt on a remote stand around 17:40, as federal police informed the captain regarding the issue.

It finally took off at 18:47, 85 minutes after the original departure time.

Following numerous incidents of people’s carelessness, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that people who traveled with realistic replicas of explosive devices, such as hand grenades, in carry-on and checked-in luggage could be fined between $690 and $3,460, and the situation can be reported to local police. Due to federal legislation, objects that have been confiscated or prohibited and left at security checkpoints cannot be returned.

Not for the first time

In June 2011, a suspected device discovered in a bag caused a one-hour delay for planes departing Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport, including one bound for Charlotte. Because he didn’t speak English, the gadget was an interpreter carried by an exchange soldier from Peru who had been stationed at Fort Eustis.

Officials at Hobby Airport discovered a fake grenade inside a passenger’s bag again in June 2018, closing the TSA line. Before the clearance was given, passengers and planes were delayed for around an hour. When a toy grenade was discovered at a checkpoint, the area was evacuated.  Authorities said the fake grenade was seized in the bag of a 17-year-old Boy Scout traveling with his father.

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