Tue 16 Mar, 2010 08:01 am
Swabbed for Explosives at London Airport
Heather Mills' prosthetic leg was swabbed for explosives after it set off a security alarm at London's Heathrow airport today.
The former Dancing with the Stars contestant and ex-wife to Paul McCartney was getting ready to fly to the US to launch a line of vegan ready-made meals when she was stopped in security, according to a report by the Press Association.
Security personnel required Mills to roll up her pant leg, allowing them to swab her artificial limb while other passengers watched, according to the Press Association.
"She was swabbed because something set off the alarm in the metal detector archway,” a spokeswoman for the airport said in a statement. "Staff could not see inside the leg so it was swabbed instead. This would be the same protocol if a passenger had a cast on a broken arm or leg."
Contrary to reports saying Mills was “furious” and “humiliated” about the incident, a spokesman for the activist commented: "Heather complied with security's requirements with good grace. Heather wasn't furious at all; she completely understands what has to be done for 21st century travel."
After passing through security, Mills made her way to the Concorde Lounge, an area reserved for first-class passengers and guests, where she ran into another slight problem. Lounge staff initially refused to let Mills enter, saying her name was not on the list.
Last month, the TSA announced they would begin random swabbing of passengers hands and baggage, looking for traces of explosives, as a heightened response to the failed Christmas Day bombing.
According to the TSA, hand-held devices are used to perform Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) tests on items ranging from laptops and shoes, to wheelchairs and casts.
Had any great airport incidents?
I've had my hands swabbed and my cameras and case dismantled at the Austin, TX. airport. This was pre-9-11 so it was pretty bizarre but mostly I thought it was interesting.
This isn't an airport incident but I was playing a frat party before a homecoming game at Carolina, we were finishing up and people were starting to drift out to go to the stadium when I saw a father leaning against my speaker and his son holding his prosthetic leg and stuffing it with mini bottles to smuggle into the game. Now that's making lemonade out of lemons.
Yep, They swabbed my husband and ruined his pacemaker.
There should have been a sign explaining about that.
With Heather Mills it's all about Karma
I have been lucky so far with airport security, not so lucky with connection flights - I think if I add up all the waiting time at airports, I probably spent
Oh my gosh, Letty! That's crazy. I've never heard of such a thing and it is an important thing to know.
What happened when they ruined his pacemaker? Did they pay to have it repaired/replaced?
I knew nothing about pacemakers at the time, and it wasn't until later that it went down. The lady doing the swabbing looked stunned. I noticed that the next time we flew, there was a warning there.
I'm almost certain that the California DMV has the contract to train new TSA employees...
I wrote this a while back but it's still relevant.
Recently I was on a flight from LA to Chicago. Without thinking, I brought my large tube of toothpaste. It made it through checkout at LAX with no trouble. I brought it to Chicago, hapilly brushed my teeth with it several times over the course of four days and all was right with the world.
However, on the way back, a sharp-eyed security man at O'Hare saw the monstrous tube. "Sir, we must take that from you", he said
I was dumbfounded. "My toothpaste?" I asked incredulously. "Why do you have to take my toothpaste?"
"It's too large sir. You are only permitted to travel with travel size toothpaste".
I was a bit belligerent. "It wasn't a danger in Los Angeles!"
He was insistent. "Sir, give us the toothpaste or we'll have to get some security people here".
He took my toothpaste and threw it in a large plastic trash can. I managed to glance inside the can and saw it stacked with shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants and several other bottles I could not immediately identify.
Now, assuming these items were indeed cleverly designed explosives, why was the trash can right next to the place where thousands of people check their bags every hour? Shouldn't a bomb disposal expert have been called in every time this man confiscated toiletries? If only one of those 'explosives' went off it would surely create a chain reaction that would set off all the other tubes in the can thus resulting in an enormous explosion that would result in massive death and destruction!
Undoubtedly, the can was later picked up by a maintenance worker and dumped outside without so much as a dog sniffing it to make sure it's safe. Thus, the dumpster could have exploded!
Is there something wrong here or is it me?
He kept this explosive arsenal in a can next to himself, huh? Did he look kind of, well, Middle Easterner?