Tiny parcel sparks major bomb scare
By DARREN COYNE
ZAC AMEY was joking when he offered to simply toss the suspicious looking package in the nearby river ? the police officer didn't find the suggestion funny at all.
Instead, the officer ordered young Zac and his mate Joel Turnage to move away from the package in the gutter and go further along Lloyd Street, South Tweed.
Shortly after 3pm the street and nearby park were swarming with officers from the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police, NSW Fire Brigade, Ambulance and Protective Services from Gold Coast Airport.
"We were walking past just as the coppers arrived and saw it sitting in the gutter. It was a black container covered in bubble wrap with three wires sticking out the side," Zac Amey later told the Daily News.
"I asked the copper if he wanted me to pick it up and throw it across the road into the river, but he wasn't very impressed and told us to move along."
As residents and excited children watched, and traffic was diverted down side streets, police began the lengthy task of determining exactly what they were dealing with.
No-one in uniform would use the word, but it was apparent to everyone that they were worried it was a bomb.
A Daily News photographer, standing well away was abruptly ordered by a police officer to stop taking photographs, as Protective Service officers moved in to examine the item.
The photographer was warned his camera would be seized if he did not comply.
Inspector Greg Jago of the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, with a Federal Police officer at his side, later explained it was policy to en-sure the officers, and their techniques, were not identified.
After initial examinations, bomb disposal experts arrived from Lismore about 5.30pm and joined the huddle at the makeshift command centre in the park.
At 6.25pm a lone bomb-squad officer wearing a fully-enclosed protective suit simply walked over. Everyone held their breath as he picked the package up out the gutter and took it back to his car.
For the onlookers expecting an explosion it was something of an anti-climax.
As emergency crews packed away their equipment, Insp Jago explained "the item was opened and the contents were found to be nothing of danger".
After three-and-half-hours of tension, the bomb scare was over.
Children went back to playing their games; their parents retreated back into their houses.