Air France plane makes emergency landing amid bomb threat
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Air France plane makes emergency landing amid bomb threat

Boeing 777 with over 450 people on board lands in Kenya after suspicious package found in lavatory

An Air France plane which made an emergency landing is seen behind passengers boarding on a small jetliner at Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya Sunday, December 20, 2015. (AP/Edwin Kana)
An Air France plane which made an emergency landing is seen behind passengers boarding on a small jetliner at Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya Sunday, December 20, 2015. (AP/Edwin Kana)

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

Flight AF 463, which had 459 passengers and 14 crew members on board, had left Mauritius at 9:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) and was due to arrive in Paris Charles de Gaulle at 5:50 a.m. (0450 GMT).

It landed at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, before 1:00 a.m. local time (2137 GMT).

Kenyan police said the flight from Mauritius was diverted after pilots requested an emergency landing at 12:37 a.m. on Sunday. The Kenyan Airports Authority said a suspected explosive device was found in the plane’s lavatory.

“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 Boeing 777 plane was still in Mombasa airport in the early morning, he added.

A passenger said everything was calm and passengers thought there was simply a technical problem as their flight to Paris was being diverted to Mombasa.

Passenger Benoit Lucchini said, “The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly. So we just realized probably something was wrong, but the personnel of Air France were just great. They were just wonderful. So they kept everybody calm. We did not know what was happening.”

He spoke to journalists in Mombasa after getting off the plane.

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