An Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris was forced to land in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa after a device suspected to be a bomb was found in the lavatory, a Kenyan police official said Sunday.
The Boeing 777 Air France flight 463 was heading to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris when the pilots requested an emergency landing at the Moi International Airport at 12:37 a.m., police spokesman Charles Owino said.
“It requested an emergency landing when a device suspected to be an explosive was discovered in the lavatory,” Owino said.
The plane was carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members on board and had left Mauritius at 9 p.m., Owino said.
All passengers were safely evacuated and the device was taken out, said Owino. Bomb experts are analyzing the suspected explosive.
“The object, believed to be an explosive device, has successfully been retrieved from the aircraft,” said Kenya Airports Authority, adding that scheduled flights to Mombasa were disrupted during the interval but that normal operations had since resumed.
“The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realized probably something was wrong,” said a passenger who identified himself as Benoit Lucchini of Paris. He spoke to journalists after leaving the plane in Mombasa.
“The personnel of Air France was just great, they were just wonderful. They kept everybody calm. We did not know what was happening,” said Luchini. “We secured our seat belts to land in Mombasa because we thought it was a technical problem, but actually it was not a technical problem. It was something in the lavatory. Something was wrong in the lavatory, there was possibly a bomb.”