Stun Guns, Fireworks and WWII Replicas: Airport Screening Officers Made Unusual Discoveries in 2012

OTTAWA, Feb. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Screening officers at Canada's major airports screened more than 51 million passengers last year, according to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA). While it's not uncommon to see bottles of liquid larger than the permitted 100 ml or pocket knives in passengers' carry-on bags, some other discoveries were real head-scratchers.

  • Not-so-lucky Charm
    • Lots of people travel with lucky charms. For some it's a rabbit foot, for others a horseshoe and in the case of one Whitehorse passenger, a "lucky" knife.  An alarm at the metal detector led screening officers to search the passenger's shoe, revealing a knife concealed in the sole. The passenger told screening officers the knife was there for good luck, which turned into bad luck when the knife was intercepted.
  • How many butterfly knives do you need?
    • A passenger at the Vancouver International Airport clearly thought 22 was the answer, which screening officers discovered when they found almost two dozen of them in his bag, along with eight brass knuckles and four fireworks. The items were confiscated by police and the passenger was arrested.
  • Explosive Situation
    • At Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, a World War II aficionado's travel plans were halted after the x-ray identified what looked like a grenade. A subsequent search and police intervention found that the item was a replica of a World War II grenade. Not surprisingly, explosives and replicas thereof are not allowed onboard.
  • Not Packing Light
    • Screening officers in Vancouver made a surprising discovery when a passenger went through the metal detector: a six-inch hunting knife. But that's not all. In the course of the search, they also found 30 grams of marijuana and a retractable steel baton. Police were called and the passenger was arrested.
  • Stunning Catch
    • Because you never know when you'll next need your stun gun, a Toronto-Pearson passenger decided to bring his personal protection device in his carry-on bag. When the shape of a gun was observed at the x-ray, screening officers inspected the bag and found a prohibited stun gun. Stun guns are not only banned from aircraft but also illegal to possess under Canada's Criminal Code.
  • An Alarming Money Belt
    • A passenger set off the alarm when he walked through the metal detector at Toronto-Pearson International Airport. Screening officers subsequently found multiple rolls of coins in the waistband of his pants. Coins are allowed in carry-on bags so hopefully the passenger realized it's a more comfortable way to stash his cash.

As the busy spring break travel season approaches, CATSA reminds passengers to visit catsa.gc.ca before going to the airport. Knowing what can be taken on a plane makes security screening faster and easier for everyone. Passengers may also find CATSA at m.catsa.gc.ca and on Twitter at @catsa_gc.

CATSA, established in 2002, is a Crown corporation responsible for:

  • Pre-board screening - the screening of passengers, their carry-on baggage and personal belongings;
  • Hold-baggage screening - the screening of checked baggage;
  • Non-passenger screening - the screening of non-passengers on a random basis; and
  • Restricted Area Identity Card - the administration of access control to airport restricted areas through biometric identifiers. 

SOURCE: Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)

For further information:

Mathieu Larocque
Spokesperson
613-998-4527
mathieu.larocque@catsa.gc.ca