What if there is a bomb? This is more related to the cabin crew, as bombs most often will be in the cabin.
In order to find a bomb, first a search has to be conducted called the Sterile Search Method. Everything must be searched. The cabin crew has specific instructions on how to do this. Normally they start out by searching the galley and toilets, bottom to top, left to right. Passengers will be moved around as cabin crew continues their search at the seats, overhead bins, etc. If something hasn’t been found in a particular area, that area is now sterile. If a suspicious object has been found. DO NOT TOUCH IT. Ask passengers to identify the item. If it is not identified, the cabin crew has to inform the flight crew. But the search does not end here, there may be more items in the airplane. Also, do not forget to check other crewmembers and their bags.
So, the suspicious object is on board, and found!!
– Do not touch it.
– Inform other cabin crew and flight crew. Give a detailed description.
– If possible, send/show a digital photo to the flight crew.
– Move passengers away from the object.
– Now here is the big part for the flight crew. They have to make the decision to keep the object at its place or to move it to a place called the ‘safe bomb location/least risk bomb location’.
Commercial airplanes these days have something called a ‘safe bomb location/ least risk bomb location.’ This is the location where if the bomb explodes, it would create the least amount of damage compared to the rest of the aircraft. For this example, we will use the R2 door. This is the door all the way in the back, on the right side (facing towards the flight deck/front).
Preparing the Least Risk Bomb Location EXAMPLE.
– Disarm the slide
– Remove safety equipment. O2 Bottles, fire extinguishers, and the rest. These could become a projectile in case of an explosion.
– Empty 2 trolleys and lay them flat on the floor, against the door.
– Pad the area with cushions, coats (Ask passengers, they will be more than happy to help avoid a detonation. Trust me. They will) and other soft materials. Do this to the height of the window.
– Place the object on top of that (How to move the object is described below)
– Cover it with plastic to keep it dry.
– Cover that with a layer of damped material.
– Continue to cover it with soft objects.
– Move passengers forward. People rather stand away from the bomb than sit next to one.
– Move yourself forward, behind the last row of passengers.
Moving the object
This is the tricky, most risky thing to do for the cabin crew. For pilots, or other cabin crew, make sure the ones moving the object are not overstressed and mentally capable of doing so. First, slide a card under the object in case it is fitted with an anti – lift device. Keep the bomb in the same attitude as in which it was found. Don’t turn it around, don’t throw it to somebody else. One will carry the object, one will walk in front, and one will walk behind. This is to prevent any interference from passengers. Move it to the least risk bomb location as described above.
Now it’s up to the flight crew
Basically you declare an emergency, squawk 7700, call operations control, descend as soon as possible to depressurize the airplane (this prevents detonation in case of a pressurized bomb), and find a suitable place to land. Best thing would be a big airport as they probably have the right facilities to deal with a bomb. But, land as soon as possible is the priority.