An Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris was forced to land after a suspected bomb was found in the toilet, police say. The Boeing 777, carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members, diverted to Mombasa in Kenya after the suspicious device was discovered.
Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet said on his Twitter account that the Boeing 777 aircraft headed to Paris with 459 passengers and 14 crew, was safely evacuated after it landed at the airport at 12:37 a.m. on Sunday (2137 GMT Saturday).
Kenyan authorities are investigating the nature of a suspect device found in a toilet aboard an Air France flight from Mauritius that made an emergency landing at Kenya’s port city of Mombasa, its interior minister said on Sunday.
Joseph Nkaisserry told reporters at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport that Kenyan authorities were working with their French and Mauritian counterparts to determine the nature of the device.
He said that an undisclosed number of passengers who were aboard the flight were being questioned about the suspect device, but did not say if they were under arrest.
“We are in touch with Mauritius to know how security screening of passengers was done. A few passen-gers are being interrogated,” he said.
“Bomb experts from the Navy and DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) have retrieved the de-vice and are determining whether the components contained explosives,” Boinnet said.
Air France said in a statement that as a precaution, all passengers were evacuated from the aircraft by its emergency slides.
“They are (being) taken care of by Mombasa’s airport ground staff and will be accommodated. An inves-tigation is being led by the authorities to identify the source of the threat,” it said.
The airline said it was working to re-route is passengers and was sending another plane 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.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said on its Twitter account that flights from Mombasa airport were dis-rupted due to the emergency landing.
Air France flight 463 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport when the pilots requested an emergency landing at the Moi International Airport at 12.37am, Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino said
Those on board were evacuated and the suspected bomb removed. Bomb disposal experts are investigating. The airport was closed during the operation.
Mr Owino said: “It requested an emergency landing when a device suspected to be an explosive was discovered in the lavatory.”
Kenya Airways said that scheduled flights to Mombasa and two other international flights within the African continent were disrupted but that normal operations have resumed.