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calendar   Thursday - December 30, 2010

Stupid In The News

Air passenger charged after bullet primer caps ignite



Ack, just reading the headline makes me gag. What were these bullet primer caps for, his rifle gun revolver automatic thingy?


A 37-year-old airline passenger was arrested Tuesday in Miami after primer caps for bullets ignited while a baggage handler was unloading a roll-on bag, the FBI said. The tarmac incident is not believed to be terrorism-related, FBI special agent Michael Leverock said.

Leverock would not provide details or speculate on how the bag might have gotten on the plane. He compared the primer to a “spark plug” for the bullet. The unidentified passenger, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was bound for Jamaica, was charged with transportation of hazardous materials. If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to five years.
...
Hundreds of the primer caps were in a bag that ignited, and all of them went off after the first one did, Leverock said. Several hit the baggage handler’s shoes, but he was not injured. The bomb squad was among those who rushed to the scene. The incident caused four other flights to be delayed, the airport said.

Leverock said part of a shirt inside the bag was charred, but the movement of the bag is what set off the explosion.


image



Oh look, primers. They come 100 to a package, with 10 packages to a sleeve. A sleeve of 1000 primers is much smaller than a loaf of bread; a package of 100 is about 1/4” high by 3” square. The packaging is designed to keep them from bouncing about. It’s also designed to minimize flash-over, should one primer ignite.

Yes, these things are tiny bits of explosives in little steel cups. It takes quite a bit of specifically directed force to set them off. Drop a handful on bare concrete and they do not go off. Ever.

I can’t say what the rules are for importing HAZMAT rated items to Jamaica via the airlines. It probably is legal, but you’d have to pay a fee, ship the things in a proper container, and put them in the baggage hold. But I can say that taking these things out of their boxes and just pouring them in a baggie buried in your carry on is a really stupid idea. They will show up on a baggage X-ray either way, so why bother? And if these were wrapped up inside a shirt in this guy’s bag, and they went off due to “baggage handling” it tells me that the gorillas handling the luggage must have clobbered that suitcase with a sledgehammer. Furthermore, there is simply no way in Hades that the igniting primers had the power to penetrate a layer or two of clothing and then the side of the carry on bag, even if that bag was a paper sack from the grocery store. No. Can’t happen. The baggage apes opened the guy’s bag and then clobbered the contents with a big hammer. Deliberately. Or else they dropped the entire luggage box 20 feet from the side of the plane down to the ground, with several tons of other luggage coming down on top of this schmuck’s bag. That’s possible, but if the primers were in a “roll on” bag - doesn’t that mean “carry on”? - then the baggage mishandlers wouldn’t be in contact with that bag in the first place. Something is fishy here, more fishy than just poor reporting.

Find out the name of the airline, and make sure you never fly with them. Whatever else, this story screams out the fact that they seriously mistreat your stuff.

Come to think of it, fire the TSA screeners involved. Baggage gets x-rayed, right? Several hundred primers poured into a baggie would show up as a great metal lump, which should have gotten their attention. A whole sleeve of primers in their original packaging would look like a 3D matrix of metal dots, which should have also been noticed. Somebody was not doing their job here.

Ok, I just followed the link and watched the video. While this was a carry on size bag, it was checked in the luggage hold. It was a two part flight from Boston to Jamaica with a changeover in Florida. The primers went off when the bag was “placed” on the tarmac. So ... a little research shows that the cargo hold of a jetliner is pressurized, but not generally heated. IIRC, aircraft pressure is set to what you’d get being 10,000 feet up on a mountain. The temperature might get down to -40. That ought to be well within the design parameters of the primers. And it’s been pretty chilly in Florida the past few days. Plus it’s not like the plane drops instantly to the ground from 32,000 feet; it takes a good 15 minutes to descend, and then another while to land, and then even longer to cruise around the airport before the plane is finally parked and unloaded. So I think we can rule out any idea that these things were made extra sensitive due to sudden changes in air pressure and temperature. ( I tried to ask CCI and Federal, but both companies are taking their winter holidays ) And that puts us right back to seriously abusive baggage handlers.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/30/2010 at 01:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun ControlStoopid-People •  
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