Box of durian causes airport to go into lockdown

Australian Port Hedland International Airport went into lockdown after a suspicious box was found filled with notoriously pungent Durian fruit this afternoon.

Emergency services were called, flights delayed and Hazardous Materials suits sent in to investigate the box, which triggered an evacuation of the airport around 1.20pm on August 8.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services district officer Don Sullivan said the box of fruit had been detected inside the building during packing and sorting from a Perth flight.

“We treated this incident as a HAZMAT so the airport went through their procedures, evacuated and shut everything down until we were able to determine exactly what the product was,” he said.

“People in the air freight centre have smelled some strange smells and have been unable to identify what it was so they have evacuated and contacted the DFES Comms - we went through our procedures, realised what it was and found nothing untoward.

“A fruit called durian, apparently it is very smelly – so it’s turned out that it was nothing but I guess the whole point of the exercise is that we go through our procedures and make sure that its safe for everyone before we continue on.”

Volunteer fire and rescue, Aviation fire and rescue service personnel, local police and BHP emergency services all responded and attended the scene.

PHIA operations general manager Rod Evans said there had been effect on outgoing flights and the airport was grateful for peoples understanding throughout the incident.

“From an airport perspective we are very grateful for the turnout of police and emergency services and we are very grateful,” he said.


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