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

  • Father of fashion designer Kate Spade dies on eve of her funeral

    World News CBC News
    The father of fashion designer Kate Spade died on the eve of her funeral, according to a statement released by her family shortly before her service began Thursday in her hometown of Kansas City. The family said 89-year-old Earl Brosnahan Jr. Source
  • North Korea pledges to destroy missile test engine site

    World News CTV News
    In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018, photo provided on Thursday, June 21, 2018, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, and his wife Ri Sol Ju arrive at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, after returning from China. Source
  • Iraq set for election recount to salvage tainted result

    World News CBC News
    Iraq's Supreme Court on Thursday endorsed a manual recount of all ballots from last month's national elections, but rejected the invalidation of ballots from abroad and from voters displaced by recent conflict. Authorities have been struggling to address allegations raised by underperforming parties that the May vote was marred by fraud. Source
  • U.S. appeals court rules teen sniper's life sentences unconstitutional

    World News CBC News
    A U.S. federal appeals court on Thursday said a sniper serving life in prison without parole over deadly shootings that traumatized the Washington, D.C. area in 2002 must be re-sentenced in Virginia because he was only 17 at the time of his crimes. Source
  • Pentagon agrees to provide space for 20,000 migrant children

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon will make space available on military bases for as many as 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children detained after illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a spokesman said Thursday. The request for temporary shelter -- amid a growing political battle over detained migrants -- was made by the Department of Health and Human Services and accepted by the Defence Department, said the spokesman, Army Lt. Source
  • Islanders getting phone calls in Mandarin in latest scam

    Canada News CBC News
    You've probably received a scam phone call in the past, but recently some people are getting calls in Mandarin. Groups who work with newcomers are warning about phone calls that appear to be trying to scam people and get your personal information. Source
  • U.S. mayors take stand against child separation at Texas border

    World News CBC News
    Mayors across the U.S. have travelled to Texas to take a stand against the separation of children from their families and placing them in cages at the border. U.S. lawmakers reject hard-right immigration bill The Trump administration has set up at least three "tender age" shelters to detain babies and other young children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S. Source
  • No 'hidden' message in Melania Trump's choice of jacket worn en route to children's shelter, spokesperson says

    World News CBC News
    Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket bearing the words "I really don't care, do u?" The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written graffiti-style on the back. Source
  • Controversial professor sues university over alleged remarks during TA's meeting

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Controversial professor and author Jordan Peterson is suing an Ontario university and three of its staff for defamation over remarks allegedly made when a teaching assistant was disciplined for showing a video of him to her class. Source
  • Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes

    World News CTV News
    TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- U.S. President Donald Trump is throwing out a policy devised by his predecessor for protecting U.S. oceans and the Great Lakes, replacing it with a new approach that emphasizes use of the waters to promote economic growth. Source