No explosives found on easyJet plane diverted to Germany

No explosives found on easyJet plane diverted to Germany

Passengers reported hearing 3 British men on London-bound flight talking about an alleged terror attack

Illustrative: An easyJet airliner on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport, August 3, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative: An easyJet airliner on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport, August 3, 2013. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

BERLIN, Germany — German police said Sunday that no explosives were found aboard a London-bound easyJet flight from Slovenia that was diverted to a west German airport after passengers overheard three men on board talking about “terrorist” activities.

The three British men, aged 31, 38 and 48, remained in police custody on Sunday as police continued to question them. Authorities said none of them was previously known to security services.

The Airbus A319 flying from the Slovenian capital Ljubljana was diverted to Germany’s Cologne-Bonn airport on Saturday, causing a major police operation and hours of air traffic chaos.

The pilot had diverted the flight after passengers told flight attendants “that several men were talking about terrorist activities,” a police spokesman told AFP, without elaborating on the content of their discussion.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reported the men were heard using the word “bomb” or “explosive.”

After the plane landed in a secure area of Cologne-Bonn airport at about 6:00 p.m. (1600 GMT), federal police evacuated the 151 passengers down emergency slides.

They isolated a backpack belonging to the three suspects, which was later blown up outside the plane by bomb squad officers.

The three men were handed over to police who questioned them “on suspicion they planned a serious crime against the state,” the term used for terrorist attacks.

Air traffic at the airport was interrupted between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. with 10 flights diverted and 20 departures delayed.

Cologne police searched the plane using sniffer dogs, but later gave the all-clear.

In a statement, the airline said the captain had diverted the flight “as a precaution to enable the aircraft to go through additional security checks in Cologne.”

“In compliance with the local authorities’ guidance, passengers disembarked to allow additional security checks to be performed.”

“The safety of easyJet’s passengers and crew is our highest priority,” it said.

Germany remains on high alert following several jihadist attacks there and in other European countries.

Authorities the previous weekend evacuated Germany’s biggest rock festival, the three-day “Rock am Ring,” over fears of a possible terrorist threat which proved unfounded.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: