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

  • Two pilots killed: No recorders on aircraft that crashed near Calgary

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON - An accident investigator says it will be challenging to determine exactly what caused a plane crash that killed two flight instructors from Calgary's Mount Royal University. Fred Burow, with the Transportation Safety Board, says the aircraft wasn't carrying -- nor was it required to carry -- a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder. Source
  • Money being raised to restore vandalized Jewish cemetery

    World News CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Money is being raised to repair and restore more than 100 headstones that were vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia while police hunt for the person who toppled them. A man visiting Mount Carmel Cemetery on Sunday called police to report that three of his relatives' headstones had been knocked over and damaged. Source
  • 'Always opt for stuffed crust': Horny couple caught having sex in pizza shop

    World News Toronto Sun
    A hungry — and horny — couple made the most of some down time while waiting for their Domino’s pizza to be made. The British pair were caught on closed circuit video having sex inside the Domino’s store, just inches from the counter, as they waited for their pie. Source
  • Guy Caron enters NDP leadership race, promises basic income

    Canada News CBC News
    Guy Caron, a Quebec MP and former economist with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, is the third candidate to enter the race for the federal NDP leadership. Caron, who represents the riding of Rimouski–Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, focused on economic issues in launching his campaign Monday in Gatineau, Que. Source
  • Warren Buffett blasts high investment fees in annual letter

    World News CBC News
    Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose stock picks over several decades have enriched generations of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders, delivered a black eye to the investment industry on Saturday, urging ordinary investors to buy plain-vanilla index funds. "When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients," Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders. Source
  • Fatal MRU plane crash: Officials provide updates in Calgary and Edmonton

    Canada News CBC News
    School officials and federal investigators are giving separate updates this morning about a plane crash that killed two Mount Royal University flight instructors two weeks ago northwest of Calgary. Watch live at 11 a.m. MT as Mount Royal University officials respond to comments from the TSB and to talk about the future of the school's aviation program. Source
  • Protesters to rally at police HQ after anger erupts over sex assault acquittal

    Canada News CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Demonstrators will rally at police headquarters in St. John's today following a weekend of outrage after a Newfoundland officer was acquitted of sexual assault. A jury Friday found Const. Doug Snelgrove not guilty after he drove an intoxicated woman home from the bar district while on duty and had sex with her in 2014. Source
  • Man allegedly attempts to abduct young girl from Nova Scotia hotel

    Canada News CTV News
    TRURO, N.S. -- Police in Nova Scotia are looking for a man who allegedly tried to abduct an eight-year-old girl from a hotel in Truro. Truro police Insp. Rob Hearn says several young girls were on the second floor of the hotel near a vending machine on Saturday around 5 p.m. Source
  • George W. Bush on Donald Trump and Russia: 'We all need answers' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - Former President George W. Bush said Monday “we all need answers” on the extent of contact between President Donald Trump’s team and the Russian government, and didn’t rule out the idea that a special prosecutor could be necessary to lead an investigation. Source
  • Cops: Mom used girl’s breath to start car with DUI device

    World News Toronto Sun
    QUINCY, Pa. — Police say a Pennsylvania woman had her 8-year-old daughter blow into an ignition device meant to prevent the woman from driving while drunk shortly before she crashed and was again charged with drunken driving. Source