Packing dynamite in checked luggage a bad idea

AP/Houston Chronicle:

A stick of dynamite was found in a college student's checked luggage on a Continental Airlines flight from Argentina, one of seven security incidents Friday that caused U.S. flights to be diverted, evacuated or searched.

Howard McFarland Fish, 21, was charged with carrying an explosive aboard an aircraft and was in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal authorities have determined that his actions were not acts of terrorism, ICE spokeswoman Luisa Deason said in a statement.

Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Omero Longoria said Fish told authorities he works in mining and often handles explosives. Longoria said federal officials were investigating whether the explanation was true.

Bill Waldock, aviation safety professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, said the incident could have been disastrous and raises questions about security in overseas airports. Dynamite can be unstable if it's old, he added.

"You're in a pressurized airplane, you get a detonation in the cargo hold, it could blow a hole in the airplane big enough to bring it down," he said.

The dynamite was found during a luggage search in a federal inspection station at Bush Intercontinental Airport shortly after Flight 52 landed at about 6 a.m. Marlene McClinton, spokeswoman for the Houston Airport System, said a bomb-sniffing dog "had a hit" on explosive residue during a further search.

Marlene McClinton, spokeswoman for the Houston Airport System, said ICE officials and the FBI shut down the customs area and began questioning Fish, one of 173 passengers on the flight.

...

He should have had a penis pump, like the guy in Chicago. It will be interesting to see if the justice system treats them the same.

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