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Police Say Accidental Discharge Did Not Damage Plane

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jim Bolger
Jim Bolger

Wellington, Nov 21 NZPA - The police have confirmed a Diplomatic Protection Squad officer once discharged a pistol inside an airborne VIP aircraft but said there was no damage to the plane and former prime minister Jim Bolger was not aboard.

Mr Bolger's former press secretary, Richard Griffin, revealed the incident during a Radio New Zealand panel discussion earlier this week.

He said the officer shot a hole in the side of the plane while Mr Bolger was aboard.

Mr Griffin later told NZPA it occurred on an Air Force VIP flight in the 1990s.

"In the process of taking his Glock (pistol) out and disarming it he managed to discharge it, in the air," Mr Griffin said.

There was no loss of pressure in the cabin and the flight continued, despite "a bit of a panic", Mr Griffin said.

Mr Bolger was "sanguine" about the incident.

Police National Headquarters said today the incident occurred 15 years ago.

"The DPS member followed correct procedures but due to a handling error his pistol discharged into a briefcase. The bullet lodged in the battery pack of a police radio in the briefcase," police said in a statement.

"The bullet did no damage to the aircraft and it certainly did not put a hold in the aircraft as has been reported. The safety of the aircraft and passengers was not at risk."

The statement said reports that Mr Bolger was on board the aircraft were incorrect.

(Seeking response from Griffin).

NZPA PAR pw nb

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