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Kenia Boeing 777 Air France Flug Notlandung
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Air France bomb scare 'false alarm'

December 20, 2015

The CEO of Air France says a suspicious device that forced one of the airline's planes to make an emergency landing in Kenya was harmless. The Kenyan Interior Ministry says several passengers are being questioned.


Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey said the device found by a passenger that caused Flight 463 to divert to the city of Mombasa while en route to Paris from Mauritius had been a "false alarm."

"The object was not capable of causing an explosion," he said.

The device was reportedly made up of cardboard, pieces of paper and a timer.

The Kenyan Interior Ministry said on Sunday that police have been interrogating at least four people in connection with the incident, in which the suspicious device was discovered in the plane's lavatory.

It said two of the passengers were suspected of placing the device, which a police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said looked like "a stop watch mounted on a box."

The police official said that no explosives had been found in the device, but that the watch was still being analyzed.

Terrorism fears

The Kenya Airports Authority has revised its announcement on Facebook, now saying that the plane was diverted because of "a suspicious object," and not that security forces had foiled "a bombing attempt" as was written earlier in the day.

The plane, which landed at Moi International Airport in Mombasa at 12:37 a.m. on Sunday local time (2137 UTC Saturday), was carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members. No one was injured in the incident, and Air France said it planned to fly the passegners to Paris from Mombasa on another flight later on Sunday.

Kenia Boeing 777 Air France Flug Notlandung
All passengers and crew were evacuated unharmedImage: picture-alliance/dpa

The bomb scare comes amid heightened fears of international terrorism in the wake of the November 13 attacks in Paris, in which 130 people lost their lives. The attacks have been claimed by militants of the self-styled "Islamic State" jihadist group.

France has been under a state of emergency since the attacks.

tj/jlw (AP, dpa, AFP)

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