For the second time in as many days the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was shut down by a dry ice bomb explosion. Nobody was injured and there are no damage estimates yet. Sunday night a plastic bottle filled with dry ice exploded in a rest room forcing four hour delays at the airport. The LA Times is reporting two more dry ice bombs were also found. All four bombs have been found in areas restricted to employees only.
Authorities in Los Angeles are saying these incidents are not related to any terrorist group. No group or individual has come forward claiming responsibility for the bombs. The FBI is assisting the LAPD in the investigation. There haven’t been any major labor issues at the airport in over a year. The last action was on Labor Day 2012 when labor unions struck causing major delays on the busy holiday weekend. There has been some opposition to the proposed moving of a runway at the airport but it isn’t likely this is in protest to that action.
According to Live Science, a dry ice bomb is fairly simple to make, all you need is some readily available dry ice, some water and a container. Filling the container with water and then adding some dry ice pellets will cause the dry ice to turn to a gas, eventually causing an explosion. While it doesn’t appear in this case there was anything added into the containers other than dry ice, if the maker of the bomb put something such as nails into the container this would cause serious injuries and damage. Depending on the location where the bomb was set off and its size the concussion from the explosion could also cause hearing damage.
Could a dry ice bomb find its way past airport security and onto a plane? Anything is possible but it would be highly unlikely as the amount of liquid needed for a dry ice bomb wouldn’t be allowed in the passenger compartment of the plane. Placing one in luggage might be more successful and could have the potential to do some damage.
What do these incidents at LAX show us? First, it isn’t just planes which are at risk; anywhere people gather is a potential target. Second, no matter how many security measures we implement there is someone who will find a way to circumvent them. Third, threats can come from many directions and groups.
One thing which should be a concern to authorities in this case is how the bombs found their way into restricted areas of the airport. These areas are only able to be accessed by employees with identification badges. This leads to the possibility that either badges are easy to obtain and duplicate or the employee screening process isn’t what it should be.
While these latest incidents at LAX are still under investigation and whoever is behind them is unknown, someone or some group put the bombs in the airport. It could be a terrorist group or it could be a disgruntled employee, until the case is solved we won’t know. What is known is it is nearly impossible to protect from every potential threat, from every potential group.
Written by : Paul Roy