'Suspicious package' in loo forces Air France flight to land in Nairobi

The flight, with 473 on board, requested an emergency landing after a device suspected to be a bomb was found on board

Nairobi: An Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris was forced to make an emergency landing in Kenya earlier yesterday after a suspicious package was found on board, Kenyan police said.

Air France

Flight AF 463, which had 459 passengers and 14 crew members on board, had left Mauritius at 9:00 pm (22:30 IST) and had been due to arrive in Paris Charles de Gaulle at 5:50 am (10:20 IST). But it made an emergency landing at Moi International Airport in the southern port city of Mombasa at 12:37 am local time.

Passengers on the flight make their way across Mombasa airport. PICS/AFP
Passengers on the flight make their way across Mombasa airport. Pics/AFP

“It requested an emergency landing after a device suspected to be a bomb was discovered in the lavatory, an emergency was prepared and it landed safely and all passengers evacuated,” police spokesman Charles Owino said. “Bomb experts from the navy and the CID were called in and took the device which they are dismantling to establish if it had any explosives,” he said.

The plane was still at Mombasa airport in the morning, he added. “We still do not know what type of object it was,” an Air France spokesman said. “The Kenyan authorities are continuing their investigation and we are in contact with them,” he added. He said the airline planned to fly the passengers to Paris on another flight later yesterday. While the airline “regrets the inconvenience and the delay that was caused to its customers,” its “priority is to ensure the safety of its passengers,” he said.

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