All eyes continue to be on Sochi, and threats to its security, this week as the Olympics have officially kicked off. One such threat included a passenger on a flight from Ukraine to Istanbul who claimed to have a bomb and wanted to send the plane to Sochi. Time Warner Cable News reporter Rebecca Vogt sat down with the parent of an Olympian before the games and got a look at how safe he feels there.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- All eyes continue to be on Sochi, and threats to its security, this week as the Olympics have officially kicked off. One such threat included a passenger on a flight from Ukraine to Istanbul who claimed to have a bomb and wanted to send the plane to Sochi.
"It's quite different than Vancouver obviously with the political situation over in Russia now it adds new dimension to the thing," said Rick Orpik.
For the second time, Pittsburgh Penguins player and Amherst native Brooks Orpik is representing the United States at the Olympics. While his father, Rick, is thrilled to watch his son play on the men's hockey team, he shared his concerns before the games about security.
"Day by day we hear something new about it,” Orpik explained. “A different threat added to the whole big picture of things."
Terror threats have been a constant focus leading up to the games. On Friday, a plane headed from the Ukraine to Istanbul was grounded when a passenger claimed there was a bomb on board and wanted to direct the plane to Sochi. But Homeland Security expert Steve MacMartin doesn't believe anyone should worry.
"[I] thought it was much ado about little. I didn’t think it sounded like a credible threat because of the direction” said MacMartin. “It was coming out of the Ukraine, going to Turkey. It wasn’t close enough to really be targeted at the games."
Officials aren't taking any chances, though. The suspect was placed in custody after the plane safely landed in Istanbul. Security surrounding the games is also tight, with beefed up protection at venues and around the shore town with war ships guarding the coast. Nonstop flights from the US to Russia currently ban liquids on carryon luggage.
Although MacMartin felt the incident is a "non event," he thinks it will open the eyes of Russian authorities as they continue their watch over the Olympics throughout the duration of the games.
"Is it a precursor of things to come? I think it's an indication that we can’t ignore the chance of there will be activity in that region," MacMartin said.
Rick was prepped before flying to Sochi and explained staying safe there is common sense - don't go out alone at night and don't flash large amounts of cash. Despite all the threats surrounding the games, Rick said it won't stop him from cheering on his son and the USA as they chase the gold.
"I'm not going to let it ruin my fun,” said Orpik. “I think they've taken enough security measures so hopefully everyone will be safe."