Police at Rome International Airport blew up a suspicious bag which turned out to be full of coconuts like it was just another day in the office.
We’ve seen our fair share of bomb scares at the airport. Usually, when someone leaves their car running in the arrivals section it prompts the local police to shut down the terminal – and sometimes the entire airport – while investigators determine whether or not there’s a bomb threat. Usually, there isn’t and then life resumes without much fuss other than a few more disgruntled travelers.
And that sort of happened at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on Monday, October 1st. Although you might think a little more highly of your airport’s abundance of caution after hearing this harrowing tale.
Fiumicino Police spotted a suspicious package in Terminal 3 at around 1 PM, prompting them to shut down the entire terminal. Freelance journalist Ned Donovan was waiting to board his flight at the time and was able to capture the whole scene through the beauty of social media.
First, local authorities shut down the terminal so that nobody could enter or leave. They suspected that the suspicious package contained a bomb, so shutting down the terminal without first evacuating travelers seems like playing fast and loose with human life.
A fact that wasn’t lost on Mr. Donovan, who commented on it later in his Twitter expose.
But, as is so often the case, there weren’t any bombs in any suspicious bag. But there were some suspicious coconuts wrapped in grocery bags that someone may or may not have tried to smuggle out of the country.
It’s illegal to take produce onto an aircraft, so we’re thinking whoever tried to smuggle these coconuts got cold feet and just left them in the terminal.
In an interview with The Independent, Donovan revealed that the whole episode took just 15 minutes from terminal closure to explosion to terminal reopening. "They stopped anyone going airside while dealing with it and no one was allowed to come into the terminal. But the people inside were just left to wander around".
After the coconuts were detonated, police left their mess for local airport janitorial staff to clean up. A surreal experience for a Monday afternoon in Rome.