Swiss flight LX789, fully loaded with passengers, was only 18 minutes from takeoff at Brussels Airport when $50 million in diamonds were stolen from the cargo hold. As per the New York Times, brazen robbers arrived at the airport dressed in police uniforms and with automatic weapons. The masked men were in two vans with blue police lights and were able to force their way through the perimeter fence at the airport.
“There is a gap of only a few minutes” between the loading of valuable cargo and the moment the plane starts to move, said Caroline De Wolf, a spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, an industry body that promotes the diamond business in Belgium. “The people who did this knew there was going to be this gap and when.” They also knew they had to move swiftly in a secure airport zone swarming with police officers and security guards. Waving guns and calmly ordered ground staff workers and the pilot, who was outside the plane making a final inspection, to back off and began unloading scores of gem-filled packets from the cargo hold. Without firing a shot, they then sped away into the night with a booty that the Antwerp Diamond Centre said was worth around $50 million but which some Belgian news media reported as worth much more. Passengers, already on board the plane awaiting takeoff, had no idea anything was amiss until they were told to debark because their Zurich-bound flight, operated by Helvetic Airways, had been canceled.
Check out the full article for answers as to how the robbers could have broken through the airport fence and what airport officials are doing to ensure it doesn’t happen again.