From stories of air crew heroism to tales of a very different type. 15 members of a South African Airways flight crew were arrested at Heathrow yesterday after customs discovered a whacking £310,000 worth of drugs in their luggage.
The initial haul was 50kg (that's like a big snow leopard!) of cannabis (or 'dagga', as South Africans evidently call it), with a street value of £150,000. Customs later confirmed that 4kg of white powder had tested positive as cocaine with a street value of £160,000. The drugs were found in three separate bags but apparently there's some confusion about who they belong to. Doesn't SAA label its bags properly then?
The airline staff - including members of the flight crew - were arrested, questioned and bailed until March. The Professional Pilots' Rumour Network is full of stories of baggage being tampered with at Johannesburg airport so there's a possibility the stuff could have been planted. But that's a hell of a lot to slip into someone's bag and hope they don't notice.
What we really want to know is: when SAA's maximum baggage allowance is 32kg, what did they have to take out of their cases to fit in all the drugs? Were the packages squeezed in beside a couple of pairs of trousers and some shampoo? Sure, they could have bought more clothes with the profits, but wouldn't it be less risky to just pack normally?