Amsterdam CS back on track after new bomb scare
5 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam Central Station was shut down for 2.5 hours on Sunday night after a suspicious package was found and EOD bomb disposal experts were called in to deal with it. The package probably did not contain explosives.
A police spokesman said the package was found at about 10.15pm on one of the station platforms and police sealed the station off and guided several hundred passengers out to the nearby Damrak and the Prins Hendrikkade.
The EOD bomb disposal squad was called in to examine the package on site and used a small amount of explosives to detonate it at about 12.30am. Experts had difficulty getting to the package because it was wedged tightly into a confined space. The police did not reveal the precise location of the package.
Trains, buses, the metro, trams and ferry boats all stop in an around Amsterdam Central Station.
Investigations were being conducted to determine what the package contained, but police remain tight-lipped about the package. But it has been confirmed that that the package has been seized and is under examination. No arrests have been made.
The bomb squad said it opted for the precautionary detonation because the package could not be trusted. “We didn’t want to take any risk,” a police spokesman told news agency ANP.
The small explosion at platform 15 did not cause any damage and was barely audible. Police gave the all clear at about 1am, except for the platform where the suspicious package was found. Train travel resumed gradually.
But the bomb scare had forced the cancellation of all train travel to and from central station. Trams, metros and buses also stopped operating from the station, as did ferry boats.
On the order of police, metros were prevented from entering the tunnels and were forced to stop at Amstel station, the first above ground metro station away from Amsterdam Central Station.
Dutch rail operator NS was forced to make an inventory of the number of stranded passengers and where they were headed to determine if alternative transport could be found.
Railway works at various places on Sunday night blocked several rail routes, but an official with network administrator ProRail said alternatives were trying to be discovered and where possible, stranded commuters would be transported by taxi.
It is the second time in recent weeks that Amsterdam Central has been evacuated. But the bomb scare on 25 March was a false alarm, as were the bomb scares at the Roosendaal and Leiden train stations on the same day.
Since the 11 March bomb attacks in Madrid, police are on higher alert and are taking no chances with bomb scares.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news