On Wednesday 10 March 2004, at about 10:52, a white powdery substance, in a sealed plastic bank packet, was observed near the check-in counters at Durban International Airport.
The emergency procedure was immediately activated and all the necessary safety precautions were taken. The affected area was cordoned off from the public and staff. This was of utmost importance and is a normal practise at the airport when a situation of this nature occurs.
The relevant role-players and authorities were immediately called to the scene. The quick reaction of all the necessary role-players ensured that the staff and the passengers in the surrounding areas were safe and away from the affected area. During this time the staff and passengers were processed away from the effected area to ensure their safety and to avoid any contact with the package. Nine people working in the effected area were isolated by the authorities while they conducted their duties.
Since there was no contact made by the staff and passengers in that area with the package, a decision was taken by the Durban Communicable Diseases Centre in conjunction with the eThekwini Health Department, to remove the package for further tests and then to de-contaminate the affected area including the staff.
This meant that the effected staff did not need to go to hospital. This incident did not have any negative affect on the airport operations.
At this stage the contents of the package is unknown and it is currently under police investigation.
ACSA would like to thank all the role-players and airport staff for their proactive response to the incident.