Guns, grenades and swords: weird confiscated items at airports

2014-01-28 11:39
Washington - It's a given that bringing a loaded firearm onto a US plane is illegal. But that did not stop 1 477 people from trying to do just that last year, officials said Friday.

Passengers also sought to sneak grenades, inert explosives, tear gas, cane-swords and even a medieval mace onto flights, all part of the varied weaponry detected at airport checkpoints by the Transportation Security Administration in 2013.

TSA said agents seized 1 813 guns, 1 477 of them loaded, from checkpoints at 205 airports last year, thanks to the use of metal detectors and advanced imaging technology.

That marks a 16.5% increase in firearm seizures from 2012.

Nearly 639 million passengers were screened in 2013, about 1.1 million more than the previous year.

Atlanta, the world's busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, led the way with 111 weapons intercepted in 2013.

TSA revealed the data in a blog post, with images of various weaponry and non-functioning explosives such as an inert Claymore mine or gag gifts resembling live grenades or improvised explosive devices, that passengers sought to bring aboard commercial flights.

"The problem with these types of items is that we don't know if they are real, toys or replicas until we call out the explosive experts," TSA said on its blog.

The list of intercepted items is long: a fake suicide vest used by an explosives instructor as a training aid; a live blasting cap and fuse lighter; a shotgun discovered in a checked golf bag; an inert Bazooka round; and a stun gun designed to look like lipstick.

One passenger who opted out of standard screening at the Pittsburgh airport, but underwent a security pat-down, was found to have a loaded .45-caliber pistol strapped to his ankle. TSA also published a mosaic of photographs showing the grenades seized from passengers -- 136 in total.

Several passengers showed ingenuity in their efforts to conceal daggers, swords, machetes, pocket knives, throwing stars and other blades. Officials discovered several sabers concealed inside canes, a comb-knife, a non-metallic dagger hidden under a passenger's shirt, and a so-called credit-card knife.

Less dangerous but equally intriguing: Agents discovered large fragments of a human skull in checked bag in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Check out the TSA's Instagram account for more pics of crazy confiscated items. 

Read more on:    air travel  |  travel  |  travel international  |  airports

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.