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Explosives experts training in Pinal Air Park

One of the largest bomb squad exercises is happening right now in Arizona.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is partnering with the U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance experts as part of the weeklong Raven’s Challenge at Pinal Air Park.

Teams practiced two scenarios Wednesday. In the first scenario, bomb techs had to analyze airport luggage after TSA screeners detected a suspicious item inside.

TSA bomb tech, Scott Ingbretsen, says airports will reserve an area for suspicious items to be moved so explosives experts can use their tools to get a look inside.

“So you use as small amount of explosives to stop a bigger amount of explosives from going off,” says Ingbretsen.

The second scenario had bomb experts demonstrating the power of different types and amounts of explosives, including the force of a commercial bomb compared to homemade explosives, a growing problem for bomb squads across the country.

“From remote locations, things flying, all this technology is available,” says Michael Newell of the U.S. Army who trained with colleagues on stopping an explosive device carried by a drone.

The Raven’s Challenge training event happens in five states, including Arizona, and includes region-specific training scenarios.


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