French police detain man after false alarm

French border police take passenger into custody in Paris following emergency landing of plane in Kenya due to false alarm

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Air France Chief Executive Frederic Gagey speaks during a news conference in Paris, France December 20, 2015

A man was taken into custody on Monday by French border police after a plane by Air France airline made an emergency landing in Kenya due to a false alarm over a suspicious device that was later found to be harmless, prosecutors say.

The Air France 463, a Boeing 777 aircraft carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew was flying from Mauritius to Paris when it made an emergency landing at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Air France CEO Frederic Gagey told reporters in Paris that analyses shows that “it was a false alarm.”

"All the information we have at this stage shows that the object was not capable of causing an explosion that would damage the plane but was rather a mixture of cardboard, pieces of paper as well as a timer," he said.

Gegey appreciated the crew of the plane for their cool-headed decision to divert the plane and denied any security failure on the flight.

Meanwhile Kenya is part of the investigation and a police official said under anonymity that six passengers are being questioned, France 24 reported.

Passenger Benoit Luchini said, “The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realised probably something was wrong.”

“The personnel of Air France was just great, they were just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm. We did not know what was happening.” 

“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,” said Luchini.

The incident is the fourth airline incident of the Air France company in recent weeks where flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington to Paris were diverted after bomb threats were received but officials said that all of the alerts were all fake.

TRTWorld and agencies