Kenyan authorities said investigations are underway into the nature of a device found in the toilet aboard an Air France passenger aircraft that made an emergency landing at Kenya's port city of Mombasa, its interior minister said on Sunday.
The Air France flight was a Boeing 777, heading to Paris, France from Mauritius. Kenyan Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet said on his Twitter account that the plane carried 459 passengers and 14 crew members, and was safely evacuated after it landed at the airport at 12:37am on Sunday (2137 GMT Saturday.)
"Bomb experts from the Navy and DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) have retrieved the device and are determining whether the components contained explosives," Boinnet said.
AIR FRANCE EMERGENCY LANDING AT MOI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MOMBASA. pic.twitter.com/wcDXj5eRyo
— Joseph Boinnet (@JBoinnet) December 20, 2015
Kenyan Secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Joseph Nkaissery told reporters at Mombasa's Moi International Airport that authorities were working with their French and Mauritian counterparts to determine the nature of the device.
Nkaissery also said a number of passengers aboard the plane itself were being questioned about the device found in the in-flight lavatory, but no arrest warrants were issued and the identity of the questioned passengers were not disclosed.
"We are in touch with Mauritius to know how security screening of passengers was done. A few passengers are being interrogated," he said.
In a statement issued by Air France, it was announced that all passengers were evacuated from the aircraft by its emergency slides as an act of precaution.
"They are (being) taken care of by Mombasa's airport ground staff and will be accommodated. An investigation is being led by the authorities to identify the source of the threat," Air France statement said.
The airline said it was working to re-route stranded passengers in Mombasa, and announced another plane is sent to Mombasa to fly them to Paris.
"This Mombasa - Paris flight is scheduled to leave in the late afternoon of Sunday, December 20," it said.