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The Domodedovo airport does not think it necessary to have total luggage checks after two liner crashes of Tuesday last
The Domodedovo airport, in Moscow's south, does not think it necessary to have total luggage checks after two liner crashes of Tuesday last, Yulia Mazanova said to Novosti. She is chief of PR for the East Line, Domodedovo managing company. The two fatal flights took start in the airport, night August 24. One, a TU 134, crashed in the Tula Region, Central Russia, the other, a TU 154, in the Rostov Region, European Russia's south. "Our routine does not envisage total explosive search-and we have no sufficient gadgetry, for that matter," says Miss Mazanova. Traces of hexogen, a high explosive, were found in the Rostov debris, and none on the Tula tragedy site, Sergei Ignatchenko, chief of PR for the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said to Novosti today. The Federal Transport Inspection Service pointed out air safety neglected back May 25, as it was checking Domodedovo. The airport was caught overlooking safety rules for passenger and freight flights alike. The inspectors duly reported it, and demanded necessary gauges and other equipment installed, says Igor Levitin, in charge of a government commission that is investigating the two crashes. Domodedovo luggage control is inadequate, acknowledges the East Line. Airport people make only random use of gas analysers and other detectors that can come on explosives in hand and other luggage, confessed Miss Mazanova. Decisions to make checks depend on airport security-officers who came through special training, she added reassuringly. The East Line closely complies with all relevant bylaws, stressed Yulia Mazanova. Our interviewer asked her whether metal detectors can spot explosives and fuses. "They can find a gun, a knife, a hand-grenade and suchlike, but not very small metal items. Besides, one can put explosives inside whatever thing in everyday use, and the detector screen won't show it," was the reply. Contrasting information came from Stanislav Maximov, expert of a private company that specialises in alarm gadgetry. Even the simplest X-ray or metal detector, which can be found in every backwoods airfield, spots explosives in luggage-a point on which he is positive. "Hexogen is quite safe without special equipment, which an X-ray or metal detector easily tracks down. In fact, you can find anything if you know how to do it. But the people who check luggage all too often haven't the slightest idea of what the thing they are looking for is like. That's the whole trouble. We may have all the gadgetry we need-but it's man not gauge who does the search. It's all in the human factor," the expert said to Novosti. An X-ray screen indicates hexogen crystals clearly enough for an experienced officer to recognise, he went on. The market is offering a huge choice of explosive detectors, of Russian and overseas design and manufacture alike. Russian items cost roughly US$7,000 apiece, and imported twice as much. The research institute under Russia's Interior Ministry has invented a choice of sprays indicating traces of explosives. "We can only regret they are used after not before blasts," said Mr. Maximov. The last missing body, a woman's, has been recovered on the site of the TU 134 crash, with its 44 passengers, near Kimovsk, Tula Region, an information officer of the federal Ministry for Emergency and Calamity Relief said to Novosti. The two Tuesday crashes took a total ninety lives, he added.
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