The airline said it was working to re-route is passengers and was sending another plane to Mombasa to fly them to Paris.
Air France Flight 463, a Boeing 777, departed from Mauritius late Saturday night with 473 people aboard, headed for Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet said.
Flight 463 was en route to Paris from the island of Mauritius, but was forced to land in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city.
The threat, which originated from U.S. intelligence, had an immediate impact at British airports where passengers were subjected to more stringent and rigorous security checks. A Kenyan police official said six passengers were questioned Sunday, including the person who informed the crew about the device.
Air France’s CEO announced later on Sunday, however, that the bomb scare was the result of a hoax.
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery told reporters at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport on Sunday that the authorities were in touch with Mauritius to find out how passengers had been screened.
(Translated)”Everything indicates at this stage that this device was not capable of creating an explosion or damaging an airplane but it was, rather, a cardboard device with a timer, so it was, indeed, a false alarm”.
Passenger Benoit Lucchini says “the plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly“.
Islamic State extremists claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris as well as for the 31 October crash of a Russian passenger plane in the Sinai desert that killed all 224 people on board.
The police official said the box has been taken apart and no explosives have been found but the digital watch has not yet been analyzed. Hours later a passenger reported the device to the cabin crew, causing the pilots to carry out an emergency landing at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport, where everyone on board disembarked safely. Last year, the United States warned that terrorists were plotting to use new stealth bombs in laptops and even humans to bring down a US-bound passenger plane. “We did not know what was happening”, said Lucchini.
“They are now airborne, but a few among them who we were interrogating have remained with us, until ongoing investigations are done”. The Irish citizen noticed passengers reassuring each other as the diversion took place.
“I thought the plane had problems – not that it had anything to do with terrorism”.