747 Cargo Flight Robbed In South Africa
The security situation at
Johannesburg International Airport appears to be in disarray, after
a KLM Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft was robbed at gunpoint -- on
A cargo of diamonds and gold was reportedly being unloaded from
the KLM aircraft when the robbers struck.
There was a shoot-out and three of the officers escorting the
cargo were wounded. All were said by South African officials to be
in stable condition. The robbers, meantime, fled on foot in several
different directions. No arrests were made and an investigation
continues. Officials said the bad guys didn't get any of the booty
they were willing to kill for.
"The group of armed men struck while freight was being unloaded
on the ramp," KLM said in a statement. "The police intervened and
shots were exchanged, but neither passengers nor flight and ground
personnel sustained any injuries. The gunmen escaped in the ensuing
Journalists Probe Airport Security
Just hours before the robbery, the Weekend Argus newspaper sent
a reporter and a photographer brazenly drove up to the airport's
perimeter electric fence. At that particular spot, they said, the
fence wasn't charged with electricity. Wearing dark clothes and a
balaclava, the photographer was able to pull apart the wires and
walk right in to what is supposed to be a highly secure area.
Three hours later, the robbers were on the tarmac.
Just the day before, a policeman was shot at "Charlie Gate" by
armed men trying to gain access to the airport. Also last week,
according to the Weekend Argus, robbers broke into the British
Airways ticket office and robbed a safe. Actually, they took the
whole thing, lock stock and content. BA officials didn't know how
much money was in the safe.
A Swissport executive at Johannesburg International said his
safe was also stolen, although there was nothing of value
Airline Pilots Association of South Africa vice president Harvey
Van Rooyen said: "We are extremely concerned about the number of
times security has been breached at the airport. We cannot have
people shooting at our aircraft, our pilots or at our passengers.
These kinds of incidents will also cause the international market
to stop doing business with us. This must be dealt with very