Idiocy apparent in Queenstown
Considerable relief has been felt in the Queenstown and Southern Lakes Region over a positive move in the resolution of the cause of the threatening note that caused a bomb scare at the resort’s airport on 24 July. The note was found on board Qantas flight QF121 from Sydney by a cleaner, after it landed at the airport at 2.14pm.
Detective Matt Jones, in charge of the investigation, says a Queenstown youth has been identified in connection with the matter and referred to Youth Aid. It appears further action may be taken as a result of that referral.
Cleaners working through the Qantas B737-800 that had just arrived from Sydney found a note which they referred to the flight crew. They in turn advised Aviation Security and an evacuation of the airport terminal began about 3.20pm, while Aviation Security and dog teams began to search the building and the airliner.
The scare caused disruption for hundreds of passengers and led to the diversion of two incoming domestic flights and the cancellation of three outbound flights, including an international flight to Sydney.
A media statement from the New Zealand Police said it was disappointed the actions of one person had tied up emergency resources that could have been needed for other serious situations.
Colin Keel, the airport’s chief executive, stated he was pleased the source of the threat had been identified. “The safety and security of our visitors and airport and that of our local communities always come first, so we are very pleased the NZ Police has identified the source of the threat. We thank them for their ongoing efforts.”
But there is still concern in the region as to how a Queenstown youth could have been on the Qantas aircraft unless he was either an inbound passenger or one of the cleaning staff. No doubt this concern will be answered when further action is taken.
People in the tourism industry in the resort are deeply concerned that a bomb scare should have happened at the local airport which is not only one of the busiest in New Zealand but also the main gateway for visitors on whose spending the economy of Queenstown relies.
Similar threats made in other tourist resorts such as Bali have seen a marked reluctance of tourists to visit those places.
- Report by John King.
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