Fake bomb belt-wearing ‘mystery passenger’ reportedly makes it through Brussels airport security

28 Feb, 2019 15:47 / Updated 3 years ago

Reports are circulating in Belgian media that a counterfeit bomb belt passed through security checks at the same Brussels airport that was hit by two suicide bombings in 2016, raising serious concerns over public safety.

“On 1 October last year, I was asked to try to pass the security checkpoint with a fake bomb belt,” the anonymous ‘mystery passenger’ told HLN. Such ‘mystery passengers’ are frequently used to test airport security procedures and personnel.  

The belt looked very credible, with wires, a detonator and a substance that had the same density as real explosives. I wore it with an elastic velcro around my waist.

The ‘mystery passenger’ claimed to be a foreigner who could not speak Dutch and gestured that they had a back injury which required a brace, at which point, they allege, they were waved through airport security unimpeded.

The private security company G4S is responsible for security at the airport, with 850 to 900 staff securing the airport’s terminals.

“We can not say for obvious reasons which safety measures we use and how we follow them,” said airport spokesperson Anke Fransen as cited by De Standaard.

However, the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGLV) which oversees security operations at the airport disputes the version of events and questions whether the anonymous ‘mystery passenger’ ever existed.

“It is a strange story,” says spokesman Sven Heyndrickx, who claims that neither the socialist trade union who levelled the allegations, nor G4S and Brussels Airport, have been able to produce any documentation or data to confirm these events took place. “If such a control exposes such a major security risk, then that must be documented somewhere? No one can prove that this incident has taken place.” 

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It is three years since the same airport was hit by two coordinated suicide bombings (a third hit the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels). A total of 32 civilians and three perpetrators were killed in the attacks, the deadliest acts of terrorism in Belgian history, which were claimed by Islamic State.

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