TerrorismMan arrested in connection with LAX dry ice bombs

Published 16 October 2013

Four dry ice bombs were planted in restricted area of LAX Sunday and Monday. Two bombs exploded, causing no injury or damage, and two were found before they exploded. The LAPD announced it had arrested 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett, an LAX employee of one of the airport’s ground crew contractors, Servisair. The LAPD chief says the police and FBI believe there was “no nexus” between the bombs and terrorism, but that the incident is related to a labor dispute.

A 28-year-old Dicarlo Bennett, an LAX employee of one of the airport’s ground crew contractors, Servisair, was apprehended in relation to the four dry ice bombs found Sunday and Monday at a restricted, employee-only area of the airport. Two of the bombs exploding, causing no injury or damage, and two were found before they exploded.

Fox News reports that Servisair’s employees handle baggage and other ramp functions at the airport.

The police say that Bennett took the dry ice from a plane, put it inside a 20-ounce plastic bottle, and placed it in an employee restroom, where it exploded Sunday night, causing operations at Terminal 2 to be disrupted for about half an hour. Bennett put a similar device on the tarmac outside the airport’s international terminal the same night. The sound of the explosion was too weak for it to be heard, but an employee found the remnants of the device on the tarmac.

The same employee found one of the unexploded bottles Monday evening, and then reported what he found on the tarmac on Sunday.

LAPD officials say they believe the bombs were planted because of an internal labor dispute, not terrorism. LAPD chief Michael Downing noted the locations of the devices – in employee-only areas —  and because no innocent civilians were targeted.

Dry ice bombs
LiveScience explains that dry-ice bombs, like any explosive device, can be dangerous. After the container with the dry ice is sealed, the container can burst in a few seconds, injuring the handler. A dry-ice bomb can also shoot shards of dry ice or pieces of the container, which can cause cuts and other injuries. For this reason, dry-ice bombs made in glass or metal containers, or in containers that also have nails or other shrapnel items in them, can be especially dangerous.

A dry-ice bomb is made with dry ice, the solid form of carbon dioxide, which freezes at minus 109 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 78 Celsius). The device is constructed by placing dry ice in a sealable plastic container, such as a 2-liter soda bottle, and adding water. A process called sublimation occurs, in which the dry ice, consisting of solidified and compressed CO2, vaporizes to produce a quantity of CO2 gas which ultimately exceeds the tensile strength of the container. The resulting explosion sends the plastic and any surrounding shrapnel, such as pieces of a metal mailbox, out in a radial pattern from the point of detonation. The reaction time usually runs from 30 60 minutes, depending on the outside temperature.