3 dry ice bombs found at LAX

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Los Angeles International Airport
(Photo credit: LAX/LAWA)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Detectives today were trying to find whoever left three dry ice bombs at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley Terminal, one of which exploded harmlessly in the second such incident in two days.

The device went off just before 8 p.m. Monday outside the Tom Bradley Terminal, said Los Angeles police Detective Gus Villanueva. The bomb squad responded and located the other two dry ice bombs before they could explode, Villanueva said.

Monday night’s blast was the second explosion of a dry ice bomb at the airport in as many days. So far, there appears to be no connection to terrorism, Villanueva said.

Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Criminal Conspiracy Section went to the scene to oversee the investigation, Villanueva said. The FBI is also investigating the planting of the devices.

The explosion Sunday night took place about 7 p.m. in an employee restroom at Terminal 2, which is used by several domestic and international airlines. That restroom was in an area off-limits to passengers, as were the areas where the devices turned up Monday, according to reports from the scene.

A dry ice bomb is not a sophisticated device. “But if you were standing near it when it exploded, you could get hurt,” Villanueva said.

A dry ice bomb commonly consists of dry ice sealed in a rigid container, often a plastic bottle. As the dry ice breaks down, carbon dioxide is formed and begins to build pressure on the walls of the container until it explodes, turning into flying shrapnel.

Dry ice bombs can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes to explode. So its unpredictability can be dangerous for the bombmaker as well as for innocent passersby.

If a dry ice bomb doesn’t go off, writes Anne Marie Helmenstine on the about.com website, it’s still dangerous and releasing the pressure could cause it to explode. The only safe way to defuse it is to rupture it at a distance, which usually entails the involvement of law enforcement.

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