Canadian transit officer left explosive sample on 767 during test

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A transit police officer left a sample of an explosive substance on an Air Canada Boeing 767 after a dog training exercise in Vancouver, documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show. That substance was never found.

A Transit Police officer in Vancouver performed the training exercise on board the aircraft on 12 January 2011 at the Vancouver International airport. Two days later, the officer found the sample to be missing from his training kit. By the time he notified police, the Boeing 767 had landed in Toronto. The aircraft was checked there, and nothing was found.

A search for the explosive sample at the officer's home and the training area at the Vancouver International airport did not uncover the substance. A crew member that groomed the aircraft that night said he noticed a bottle that matched the profile of the sample, but he left it on the aircraft for the subsequent cleaning crew to dispose of when they took out the trash. That trash collected from the aircraft was later incinerated, but authorities did not find the specific container with the substance.

Police documents dated 20 March 2011 show the aircraft was inspected 14 times after the incident. The report says that "there is every reason to believe" the container was removed from the aircraft and incinerated after conducting interviews with cleaning crews. Police then closed the file.

The explosive substance was "stable and inert", and did not pose a risk to the public, a Transit Police spokesperson tells Flightglobal. Detonating the substance would have required a "blasting cap" and additional components, which were not brought onto the aircraft during the training sessions. The substance could have been hit with force or lit with a lighter and would not have detonated, says the spokesperson.

The individual administering the exercise should have checked the kit immediately after the procedure, says the spokesperson. Since the incident the Transit Police now performs the test on retired aircraft.