Fake cellphone bomb discovered in checked luggage at Mangalore Airport

An IndiGo flight from Mangalore to Dubai was delayed following a major security scare involving a fake cellphone bombREUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

A fake cellphone bomb was discovered hidden inside luggage during X-ray screening at Mangalore Airport in India. The discovery on Tuesday (19 September) prompted the arrest of a 26-year-old man travelling to Dubai.

An IndiGo flight from Mangalore to Dubai was delayed when the suspicious "clay-like" item was spotted by airport scanners in the passenger's mobile phone, which was in his checked in baggage.

The passenger was identified as M Mohammed, the Times of India reported.

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There was initially confusion as to whether the device was real or a fake as sniffer dogs gave authorities a "mixed signal" as to whether it was an explosive or had a chemical that could be used in a gas attack.

An explosive trace detection test concluded it was not an explosive.

"The passenger, M Mohammed, was booked on IndiGo's flight 6E 877 from Mangalore to Bangalore at 10pm on Tuesday and then he was to travel from Bangalore to Dubai on IndiGo flight 6E 95 Wednesday at 7.20am," a senior aviation official told the Times of India.

"While screening his checked in baggage at Mangalore, the screener noticed that a power bank was in his bag which looked suspicious (as it showed a green colored thick image). (The screener) did a physical check and opened the power bank to check and noticed a clay like substance in the power bank."

India's Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) head Rajesh Kumar Chandra is said to have ordered the item be investigated.

"IndiGo's alert security screener staff at Mangalore caught a suspect carrying alleged cellphone bomb today," IndiGo tweeted. "The matter has been reported to the local police. Since it is a sensitive security matter we have nothing more to share."

The airline added: "IndiGo is committed to providing the highest level of safety and security for its passengers at all times."

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IndiGo is a low-cost carrier and is one of the biggest in India in terms of passenger numbers, the Mirror noted.

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