Retired cop, wife held over Air France bomb hoax

The couple was on the plane that was diverted to Kenya; Air France also filed a reckless endangerment lawsuit

Paris: French police yesterday detained a retired policeman over the discovery of a fake bomb on board an Air France flight, which made an emergency landing in Kenya, a legal source said.

The Paris-bound flight had made an emergency landing in Kenya and nearly 500 passengers were evacuated . Pic/AP
The Paris-bound flight had made an emergency landing in Kenya and nearly 500 passengers were evacuated . Pic/AP

The 58-year-old passenger was taken into custody by border police upon his return to France while his wife was also being questioned as a witness, a day after their flight from Mauritius to Paris was diverted to Kenya.

Air France filed a lawsuit for reckless endangerment after a fake bomb forced a Paris-bound flight to make an emergency landing in Kenya and evacuate nearly 500 people.

Overwhelmed with relief, passengers arrived safely in Paris yesterday, some crying as they embraced loved ones. The hoax, the fourth against Air France in recent weeks comes amid heightened concerns about extremist violence in many countries.

No perpetrator
Air France filed a reckless endangerment lawsuit, spokeswoman Ulli Gendrot said yesterday. It does not name a particular perpetrator, but leaves it to investigators to determine who might eventually stand trial.

Six passengers were being questioned on Sunday, including the person who informed the crew about the device, said a Kenyan police official who is part of the investigation and who insisted on anonymity.

On high alert
France has been on high alert for terrorist activity and in a state of emergency since Islamic extremist attacks Nov. 13 in Paris killed 130 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for those attacks and for downing a plane carrying Russian tourists out of Egypt in October.

A fake explosive rigged with cardboard, sheets of paper and a household timer forced the Air France flight on Sunday to make an emergency landing in Mombasa, Kenya. All 459 passengers and 14 crew members on the flight, from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to Paris, were safely evacuated.     

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