Tourist sparks bomb scare by locking suitcase to park bench
Fiona Govan · 20 Jul 2016, 11:45
Published: 20 Jul 2016 11:45 GMT+02:00
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Faced with the troublesome dilemma of what to do with your suitcase when you are travelling alone and don’t feel like dragging it around as you navigate a tourist site, the unnamed visitor made an ill-advised decision.
She strapped the locked suitcase to a bench on the square in Nerja’s emblematic Balcón de Europa, a mirador boasting panoramic views across the Strait of Gibraltar, and popped off to admire the view and grab a bite to eat.
The suitcase was attached with a lock to a bench overlooking the sea. Photo: Ayto Nerja
Within minutes the case was spotted by a local resident who raised the alarm.
"Of course when you see a suitcase tied to a bench in a public area it is taken seriously," a spokesman from Nerja town hall told The Local.
"The police treated it as a suspicious package, possibly a suitcase packed with a bomb and initiated the protocol in place for a terrorist threat."
Local police evacuated hundreds of people from the area, which is filled with shops and restaurants with tables outside, and called out a team from Tedex, the specialist branch trained in bomb disposal.
Eventually realizing the cause of the alarm, the shame-faced tourist approached police and confessed that the offending luggage was in fact hers and was entirely harmless.
The tourist was snapped looking horrifed as she realized what sparked the alert. Photo: Ayto Nerja
"She was terribly apologetic and really embarrassed about the fuss she had caused," said the town hall spokesman. "She said she had just wanted it to be safe while she grabbed something to eat."
Her luggage was returned to her with the warning that although she would not face charges, it would be inadvisable to repeat the same thing elsewhere.