Robbers' daring $60m diamond heist

Last updated 23:43 19/02/2013

Relevant offers

World

Indian heatwave toll rises to 289 Polish presidential race too close to call TPP talks 'in the end-game' Nepal landslide blocks river, raises fears of flood reaching India Afghan police officers killed in Taliban attack Rohingya Muslims found on boat rescued by Myanmar navy NSA closing data collection programme after Patriot Act extension blocked New Zealander in Syria wants to return to Australia, offers information on jihadists France bans supermarkets from throwing away edible food No tsumani warning after 6.8 magnitude earthquakes off Solomon Islands

Police are looking for eight men who made a hole in a security fence of Brussels' international airport, drove onto the tarmac and robbed tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane.

Brussels prosecutor's spokeswoman Anja Bijnens said the armed and masked men used two vehicles in their daring Monday (Tuesday NZT) raid and within minutes made their way to the plane, took the cache of stones and drove off into the darkness.

Police found a burnt-out vehicle close to the airport later Monday night but said it was still looking for clues.

The heist was estimated at some $US50 million (NZ$60 million) in diamonds, said Caroline De Wolf of the Antwerp World diamond Centre.

"What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum," De Wolf told VRT network.

An airport spokesman says the robbers made a hole in the perimeter fence, and drove right up to the Swiss passenger plane that was ready to leave. The robbers got out of the car, flashed their arms and took the loot from the hold, airport spokesman Jan Van Der Crujsse said. Without firing a shot they drove off through the same hole in the fence, completing the spectacular theft within minutes, he said.

Van Der Crujsse could not explain how the area could be so vulnerable to theft. "We abide by the most stringent rules," he said.

The Swiss flight, operated by Helvetic Airways, was cancelled after the robbery. The airline declined to comment on the heist, citing the ongoing judicial investigation.

The insurance for air transport - handled sometimes by airlines themselves or external insurance companies - is usually relatively cheap because it's considered to be the safest way of transporting small high value items, logistics experts say.

Unlike a car or a truck, an airplane cannot be attacked by robbers once it's on its way, and it is considered to be very safe before the departure and after the plane's arrival because the aircraft is always within the confines of an airport - which are normally highly secured.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content