Fake bomb forces Air France flight to make emergency landing in Kenya.

Fake Bomb Forces Air France Flight to Make Emergency Landing in Kenya

Fake Bomb Forces Air France Flight to Make Emergency Landing in Kenya

The Slatest
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Dec. 20 2015 10:25 AM

Fake Bomb Forces Air France Flight to Make Emergency Landing in Kenya

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A picture taken on December 20, 2015 shows an Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris grounded at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya after a suspected bomb was found on board.

Photo by -/AFP/Getty Images

An Air France flight traveling from Mauritius to Paris made an emergency landing in Kenya due to a suspicious device that was found in a plane lavatory. But it turned out to be a fake, the airline’s CEO confirmed, calling the device a “false alarm.” Turns out the supposed bomb was nothing but cardboard, paper with a household timer strapped on top. “This object did not contain explosives,” Air France chief Frederic Gagey said at a news conference.

After AF463, with 459 passengers and 14 crew members, made the emergency landing in Mombasa, the Kenyan Airport Authority posted a statement on Facebook that described the suspicious package as a bomb, saying authorities had foiled “a bombing attempt” and that it had “been taken to safe destination for detonation.” Authorities later edited the post to describe as a “suspicious object” what had once been a bomb.  

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One passenger on the plane told journalists that the emergency landing was calm as crew told passengers the plane had been diverted due to a technical problem. "The plane just went down, slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realized probably something was wrong," he said. "But the personnel of Air France were just great, just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm."

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.