The US Transportation Security Administration has released its annual “Year in Review” blog post for 2013, chronicling the dangerous and often bizarre finds its agents made while searching passengers across US airports throughout the year.
First and foremost, the TSA noted that 1,813 firearms were caught at various airports during the year, an average of five weapons a day, 81 percent of which were loaded.
Agents also apprehended 562 stun guns in carry-on bags as well as many smoke grenades, stun grenades, flares and canisters of black powder.
Sometimes the weapons found were only replicas or props, but they nonetheless brought about many delays and, presumably, some unpleasant questioning sessions. These included 136 inert grenades, inert explosives and ammunition and, in one case, what appeared to be a suicide vest. The vest actually belonged to an explosives instructor and was found to be simply a training prop.
But the scares didn’t end there.
Passengers tried to sneak by with countless combat knives, throwing knives, ninja stars and a surprising array of cane swords. A real mace — spiked metal and all — was found in one man’s carry-on bag. Many attempted to conceal their weapons inside everyday objects, with little success: Knives and razors were found hidden inside lipsticks, combs, cellphones, credit cards, a laptop battery compartment, a toothbrush holder and even a knee brace.
Finally, in one case an actual human skull was found inside clay pots that had been checked in as baggage. The owners said they had just purchased the pots, and claimed to be just as surprised as the screeners.
The TSA noted that 2013’s catch was actually 16.5% larger than that of the previous year, so it’s anyone’s guess what 2014 will bring.