Air France, & Kenya about information.
An Air France plane was diverted to the Kenyan city of Mombasa on Sunday after crew members found an object they suspected was a bomb, the airline said.
The Boeing 777 aircraft, carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members, landed at Mombasa airport and was evacuated, a spokesman for Air France-KLM SA said. Air France Flight 463 had left the African island nation of Mauritius on Saturday evening and was en route to Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport. It landed in Mombasa shortly after midnight local time.
Kenya’s airport authority confirmed that a suspicious item was retrieved. In an earlier Facebook post, the authority said the object, which it at the time described as a bomb, had been destroyed. That post was deleted.
Passengers of an Air France plane that made an emergency landing in Mombasa ride on a bus after being evacuated from the plane on Sunday. ENLARGE
Passengers of an Air France plane that made an emergency landing in Mombasa ride on a bus after being evacuated from the plane on Sunday. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Suspicious packages found at airports are typically blown up in controlled detonations as a precautionary measure whether or not they are bombs.
Aircraft crews have been on edge since a Russian airliner crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in late October, killing all 224 people on board.
Russia has blamed the crash on a bomb, citing explosive debris found at the crash site, but Egyptian investigators say they haven’t found evidence of terrorism after hundreds of hours examining the plane’s wreckage.
In addition, the series of deadly attacks in Paris last month, which killed 130 people, have triggered increased border controls and stepped-up security screening on air and train travel.
Less than a week after the Paris attacks, two Air France flights were diverted after an anonymous threat was phoned in against them. A flight from Los Angeles to Paris was diverted to Salt Lake City, while a plane flying from Washington, D.C., to Paris was forced to land in Halifax, Canada.
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said Sunday that a few “passengers of concern” who were on board the Air France flight were being interrogated.
The passengers and crew members were transferred to hotels in the Kenyan port city and the airline will send another plane to pick them up later Sunday. They are expected to arrive in Paris early Monday.
The Kenyan airport authority said normal flight operations had resumed after the disruption.
Following the crash of the Russian airliner in Egypt, the U.S. has ordered closer checks on inbound flights from some non-specified airports, while the U.K. has barred flights from Sharm El Sheikh, where the plane departed.