An airport security officer has been stood down after revelations 21 rounds of ammunition were carried on to a flight from Perth at the weekend by a business class passenger without being detected.
The investigation into the stunning security lapse at Perth Airport now includes the Australian Federal Police after authorities in Mauritius, where the passenger was arrested, said the bullets were bought in Australia before the man boarded the plane.
“Perth Airport responded immediately to a report that a passenger boarded Air Mauritius flight MK441 with ammunition by launching an urgent investigation of this matter and directing that a security officer undertaking screening duties at the time be stood down,” an airport spokes-woman said.
One bullet was found on the floor of the business class cabin three hours after departing Perth.
The remaining 20 rounds of ammunition were discovered in the passenger’s carry-on luggage once the plane landed.
It is understood the passenger is a South African national, aged in his 50s and works as a company executive.
“He confirmed that the one bullet found in the business class was his and that he had bought the ammunition in Australia,” the Mauritian airport authority said in a statement.
“His travel documents revealed that he was in transit in Mauritius and his final destination was South Africa.”
The passenger has been charged with the “illegal importation of ammunition” and is in custody in Mauritius pending a court hearing.
It is not clear why he was carrying the ammunition, which is believed to be 9mm handgun bullets.
Perth Airport confirmed that the Aviation and Maritime Security Division and the AFP had been notified of the security breach.
This article originally appeared on The West Australian.