Suspicious device on Air France flight was a hoax: CEO

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The suspicious device discovered in the bathroom of an Air France flight was a hoax, the CEO of Air France said Sunday.

See Full Article

The Boeing 777 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from Mauritius when its pilots requested an emergency landing early Sunday at Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa.

The device was made of cardboard, paper and a household timer, said Frederic Gagey, the head of Air France. "This object did not contain explosives," said Gagey at a news conference in Paris.

Gagey congratulated the crew for their cool-headed reaction to divert the plane. A safety check was carried out in the bathroom before the flight, he said. He denied any security failure in the flight, saying that passengers are checked and sometimes double-checked on flights.

Six passengers are being questioned over the incident, said a Kenyan police official, who is part of the investigation and who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.

A passenger reported the device to the cabin crew who informed the pilots leading to an emergency landing at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. One of those being interrogated is the man who reported the package.

The plane was carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members on board and had left Mauritius at 9 p.m., said Kenyan police spokesmand Charles Owino. All passengers were safely evacuated and the device was taken out, said Owino.

A passenger who spoke to journalists after leaving the plane in Mombasa described the emergency landing.

"The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realized probably something was wrong," said Benoit Lucchini of Paris.

"The personnel of Air France was just great, they were just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm. We did not know what was happening," said Lucchini. "So we secured the seat belt to land in Mombasa because we thought it was a technical problem but actually it was not a technical problem. It was something in the toilet. Something wrong in the toilet, it could be a bomb."

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is a popular destination for French tourists.

France has been under a state of emergency since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for that and the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian passenger in the Sinai desert that killed all 224 people aboard. Moscow has said that the crash was caused by a bomb on the plane.

Two Air France flights from the U.S. to Paris were diverted on Nov. 18 after bomb threats were received. No bombs were found on the planes from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Steven Ciaran, 30 an Irishman working on Reunion Island, said he was seated at back of the plane watching a movie when he noticed the rushed movement of cabin crew preparing emergency drills. Cabin crew told him it was a technical problem and they created a calm environment among the passengers.

"I was very distressed because I could see we were far from the destination," said Ciaran. He said passenger reassured each other.

"I thought the plane had difficulty and not that it had anything to do with terrorism," he said.

The plane arrived in Mombasa at around 1.30 a.m. and the passengers disembarked using an emergency slides, he said. A couple of people got twisted ankles but no one seriously injured, Ciaran said.

Ciaran says he was travelling from Reunion to Dublin for the Christmas holiday.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 5 things the federal government is doing about the influx of border crossers

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Nearly 7,000 people have crossed illegally into Canada in the last six weeks, most intent on filing for refugee status. The surge this summer caps seven months of near-steady increases in the number of people entering into Canada between official border crossings to seek asylum. Source
  • Terror threat leads to cancellation of Allah-Las show in Rotterdam

    World News CTV News
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A rock music venue in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam says it has cancelled a concert by American group Allah-Las because of a "terror threat." Concert organizer Rotown said on Twitter that Wednesday night's concert at the Maassilo venue was cancelled on orders of police. Source
  • High school football coach fired for praying after games loses appeal

    World News Toronto Sun
    SEATTLE — A Washington state high school football coach took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games, and he’s not entitled to immediately get his job back, a federal appeals court said Wednesday. Source
  • Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale meets with Cornwall officials about asylum seekers

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    CORNWALL, ONT. - Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was in Cornwall on Wednesday morning to meet with the city council and tour Nav Centre where hundreds of Haitian asylum seekers are being housed by the federal government. Source
  • Mayor, councillors, assured about migrants after meeting Goodale

    Canada News CTV News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined by Laura Albanese (left), Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Kathleen Weil, Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, and Ahmed Hussen, right, Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, in a meeting of the Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration, Wednesday, August 23, 2017 in Montreal. Source
  • Five-hour days, vacation cash among work perks at B.C. tech companies

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VANCOUVER — From vacation cash to luxury cars, some technology companies in British Columbia are offering big perks to woo prospective employees. Multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have opened offices in Vancouver, while homegrown startups like Hootsuite have gained international acclaim in recent years. Source
  • Singer k.d. lang invites Jason Kenney to Calgary Pride after UCP rejection but says he's busy

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    CALGARY — Alberta crooner k.d. lang has invited Jason Kenney to Calgary’s Pride festivities — but it appears he won’t be attending. The country singer took to Twitter on Tuesday to offer Kenney — a leadership candidate for the province’s new United Conservative Party — free tickets to a concert if he’d sit down and discuss LGBTQ rights with her. Source
  • Cross-burning victims to priest: Apology is not enough

    World News CTV News
    In this May 3, 1982 file photo, President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan walk with Barbara and Phillip Butler and their daughter Natasha, outside the family's home in College Park, Md., May 3, 1982. (AP Photo / Barry Thumma, File) Source
  • 'Pride of Russia:' Russian art community turns out to support detained director

    World News CBC News
    To a full house and rapturous applause more suited to one of his sold-out productions, Russian theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov appeared in court Wednesday and was placed under house arrest pending an investigation into charges that he embezzled government funds allocated for one of his projects. Source
  • Windsor hospital increases security after stabbing in hospital by a patient

    Canada News CTV News
    WINDSOR, Ont. -- A Windsor, Ont., hospital is increasing security after one mental health patient stabbed another, but the facility says it is trying to strike a balance between safety and patients' rehabilitation needs. David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, said a 17-year-old male patient stabbed a 26-year-old female patient as he returned from a day-pass visit with his family over the weekend. Source