Grandmother reveals innocent mistake that sparked Brisbane Airport bomb scare

Tom Flanagan

A grandmother who caused a panic at Brisbane Airport after her luggage was emblazoned with the word 'bomb' has explained it was all an innocent mistake.

Venkata Lakshmi, 65, was arriving from Mumbai via Singapore Airport at 7am on Wednesday only to be greeted by the Australian Federal Police who interrogated her over her luggage.

Ms Lakshmi's daughter, Devi Jothiraj, from Yeppoon, 40km northeast of Rockhampton, revealed to Yahoo7 News her mother was mortified over what she described as "a mix-up".

The grandmother's bag caused a brief panic at Brisbane Airport on Wednesday. Source: Supplied
The grandmother's bag caused a brief panic at Brisbane Airport on Wednesday. Source: Supplied

"She was pulled into a room and was interviewed," she said.

"My mother told me they thought something was in there and people were panicking. They asked her to open the bag and asked her why it says bomb and she said 'It's for Bombay!'".

Ms Jothiraj revealed her mother, who has limited English, was being flown over from India to Australia as a celebration for her 65th birthday. As she was nervous flying alone, she wanted to write the airport she departed from and her destination on her bag.

Venkata Lakshmi hadn't realised her bag was going to cause such a scare. Source: Supplied
Venkata Lakshmi hadn't realised her bag was going to cause such a scare. Source: Supplied

"She began writing Bombay before realising she had no space to fit it all in so she stopped at Bomb and wrote Bomb to Brisbane with Mumbai underneath," she revealed.

Ms Jothiraj explained despite being called Mumbai since 1995, many people in India still referred to the city as its original name, Bombay.

She revealed that the AFP quickly realised there was no threat and let her go after inspecting the contents of her bag.

Ms Lakshmi's grandchildren were there to meet her at Brisbane Airport, ready to celebrate her 65th birthday. Source: Supplied
Ms Lakshmi's grandchildren were there to meet her at Brisbane Airport, ready to celebrate her 65th birthday. Source: Supplied

"Its understandable with the extra security for the Commonwealth Games. Because she is elderly they probably believed her," Ms Jothiraj said.

"She was a bit shy and shocked."

Her family, including her two grandchildren, were waiting at the arrivals gate and began to worry before Ms Lakshmi sheepishly made her way out around 8am, one hour after landing.

"She understands the mistake she made. She can read and understand a little but she didn’t realise it would cause a problem, it went over her head."

Ms Jothiraj, who has lived in Australia for 10 years, said that her mother told her the bag hadn't caused any issues when it was dropped off in Mumbai.

A Mumbai International Airport spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo7 News that the passenger had referred to Mumbai as “BOMB” when writing the departing airport on her luggage.

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson told Yahoo7 News the AFP responded to an incident after being alerted to the item.

"The Australian Federal Police responded to reports of a suspicious item of baggage at Brisbane International Airport this morning [Wednesday]," the spokesperson said.

"An area near a baggage carousel was cordoned off and the item was examined in accordance with routine protocols, and was not deemed to be suspicious."