Thousands of Vancouver Airport Passengers Delayed After Security Breach

VANCOUVER (CP) -- A man bypassed security screening at Vancouver International Airport on Sunday, departed on a flight to Toronto while all others were delayed and was not detected until he landed in Toronto, a spokeswoman for the agency responsible for pre-board screening said.

Jacqueline Bannister, spokeswoman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, said the man somehow managed to walk around pre-board screening agents and get to his flight.

He was spotted avoiding the screening but efforts to find him before his flight left for Toronto failed.

''The guy went through pre-board screening at Vancouver without getting properly screened and he got on his plane and the plane left Vancouver with him on it and he arrived in Toronto,'' said Bannister in an interview from Ottawa. ''People in Toronto were waiting for him. Nobody knew that he was actually on the flight (to) Toronto.''

Neither Bannister nor RCMP were able to explain how the man's flight was able to take off with him on board when many other flights were left grounded as passengers had to return for another security screen.

Passengers in waiting areas also had to be re-screened and the result was chaos in the terminal as thousands of people milled about.

''All people who were on planes that had not left were brought back for screening as were people in the holding areas, she said.

But his flight had taken off and ''nobody knew he was on that flight. They (police) were searching for him in Vancouver.''

Bannister was unable to explain the double-security breach: the man getting past pre-board screening and then getting on the flight that was able to take off even though he hadn't been screened.

She said the man appeared to misunderstand his instructions.

''The guy was told to go to a certain lineup,'' said Bannister. ''The guy misunderstood and thought he was told he could go through without the screening. He did that. When people looked up and saw what he was doing, people tried to go after him but it was during a peak period.''

Bannister said she was ''sure there will be a review of exactly what happened.''