Ottawa man says he flew with fireworks

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2011/02/05/17169566.html

An Ottawa man says he wants to know how he could inadvertently board a flight from Ottawa with fireworks in his carry-on bag without getting caught.

“I had a Roman eight-ball candle, Roman 10-ball candle, I had a big pack of extra large sparklers and I had a airbomb,” said Mark Bennett, who flew to Thunder Bay via Toronto on Jan. 29 with Air Canada.

“And I had a lighter in my pocket.”

Fireworks are banned by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority in carry-on and checked luggage.

“I did fireworks for Victoria Day. I threw them in a bag and forgot about it.”

The Nepean resident said the fireworks were hidden underneath the bottom stiffener in his royal blue duffel bag.

“I didn’t discover it until I was packing my bag to leave. So I took the fireworks out. I left them there (in Thunder Bay).”

Bennett said the entire episode is bizarre.

“My first reaction was shock and then a bit of hysterics,” he said.

Bennett was at Toronto’s Pearson International airport for about two hours between flights.

He went outside to smoke so he had to go through security again.

And once he boarded that flight for Thunder Bay and put the bag with fireworks in the overhead bin, he said he was sitting next to a Mountie.

“It’s just unbelievable. Even though I was completely innocent, I could’ve been thrown in jail easily,” he said.

Bennett said he thinks airport security needs to be more vigilant.

“I don’t know if the X-ray machine caught it and they just didn’t notice, especially with the metal sparklers. Or if it’s not detectable, I don’t know. But if it’s that easy for somebody to do something like that, there’s a problem with air security. And I just want to maybe save a few lives,” he said.

But CATSA isn’t taking the blame.

“We can’t comment until we know more information about this alleged incident,” said spokesman Mathieu Larocque.

“We strongly suggest that the passenger contact us in order to provide pertinent details that allow us to investigate.”

Until this trip, Bennett hadn’t flown in 10 years.

“I’m scared of heights and I don’t like all the security checks and all that stuff that they do now. Ironic, I guess.”

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/02/05/17170131.html#/news/canada/2011/02/05/pf-17170131.html

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