ADIF have pledged to bolster their security after a ‘grenade’ incident this week at Barcelona’s Sants and Madrid’s Atocha station.
It has emerged that security guards at Sants searched the wrong luggage this week when a suspicious ‘grenade’ shaped object appeared on their scanners.
Checking the contents of the wrong suitcase allowed the suspicious item to make the AVE high-speed train journey to Madrid.
Fortunately the object was later identified as a grenade shaped belt buckle.
Leaders of Cataluña’s police force, Mossos d’Esquadra, alongside Adif and Renfe bosses met yesterday (Thursday) and have now agreed a full review of security protocols is in order.
Mossos d’Esquadra said that a “dysfunction at the checkpoint” was responsible for the mishap after officers detained the wrong passenger on Wednesday morning at 7.29am, allowing a woman to carry her suspicious luggage onto the train without being challenged.
Mossos, Renfe and Adif concluded that the current security measures at the Sants station are satisfactory but a review is necessary to improve passenger safety.
Mossos d’Esquadra demanded an explanation from Adif as to why police were not notified until 30 minutes after the suspicious suitcase had slipped away.
The rail management body claim the suspicious suitcase was detected at 7.29am on Wednesday and the suspected owner of the luggage was ‘immediately detained’ and that the current security protocol was carried out appropriately.
Adif also say that the passenger was carrying multiple suitcases, each of these cases were checked but the ‘grenade-like’ object was not found.
Adif claim that this mistaken identity allowed the woman carrying the real suspicious suitcase and the supposed ‘hand grenade’ to board the train.
The female passenger was allegedly oblivious to the alarm generated by her luggage and departed on the AVE train to Madrid Atocha station at 7.40am.
Realising that the suspicious suitcase could be onboard the departed train, security informed the Adif protection and security centre.
CCTV cameras allowed Adif’s security centre to identify the female with the supposed hand grenade in her luggage.
Adif contacted Mossos d’Esquadra to the potentially dangerous situation unfolding at 8.02am, more than 22 minutes after the AVE train departed from Sants.
At 9.40am it was confirmed that the woman had boarded the 7:40 train, two hours after her departure.
Mossos notified the National Police, the Guardia Civil and the Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organised Crime (Citco) of the unfolding situation and that the suspicious luggage and suspected passenger were on their way to Madrid.
Atocha station in Madrid was promptly evacuated and National Police worked fast to identify the suspect female passenger and to search her suitcase.
At 10.30am the threat was declared a false alarm after National Police realised the suspicious object was a belt buckle shaped like a hand grenade.
The meeting called between Mossos, Adif and Renfe bosses aimed to improve communications to reduce the time of warning in cases of possible emergencies.
Another outcome of the meeting is that Adif will review the number of security agents stationed at control points during peak hours to avoid an accumulation of passengers and to prevent a such an error from occurring again.