Fri, Aug 21, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Gas cylinder prompts high alert at Taoyuan airport

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A China Airlines employee at Taiwan at Taoyuan International Airport yesterday inspects a gas cylinder that was found in the cargo section of China Airlines Flight CI003 from San Francisco.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Aviation security personnel at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport were on high alert yesterday morning after receiving information that a gas cylinder had been found in the cargo container of a China Airlines passenger jet.

The airline said that Flight CI003 arrived at the airport from San Francisco at 5:05am, and its ground crew discovered the gas cylinder while unloading the cargo container. The crew immediately informed aviation police per standard operating procedures, the company said.

According to operator Taoyuan International Airport Co, aviation police officers arrived at the D5 tarmac and cordoned off the area while they waited for the bomb squad to arrive to inspect the cylinder.

Fearing that the cylinder could explode, the airport operator also called in fire trucks and an ambulance.

The bomb squad declared that the cylinder contained no explosives, adding that the “timer” reported by the ground crew was actually the pressure gauge of the cylinder.

The cylinder was moved to the northeast tarmac for cargo flights for further inspection, the airport company said.

China Airlines said the cylinder belongs to its warehouse agent firm in San Francisco, and that the agent had admitted that its workers had replaced the empty cylinder with a new one and forgotten to remove the empty one.

The company added that it had taken note of the error and would compile a detailed investigative report.

It is holding its warehouse agent in San Francisco accountable for the incident, based on the terms of their contract, it said.

Han Chen-hua (韓振華), director of the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s airport transport division, said that China Airlines would be asked to strengthen its oversight mechanism.

The Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) states that the airline could face a penalty of between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000 if it is found to be carrying dangerous items.

Since the gas cylinder does not contain pressured gas or other dangerous items, the airline can only be held responsible for not thoroughly enforcing standard procedures, he said.

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