MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec. 20 (UPI) — An Air France flight traveling from Mauritius to Paris made an emergency landing on Sunday in Kenya after a bomb, which was found to be fake, was discovered in the plane — the artifact was made of paper and a timer.
Air France flight 463, carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members, diverted to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport. The aircraft and airport were evacuated.
The suspicious device, made up of carton, sheets of paper, and a kitchen timer, was found behind a mirror in a bathroom.
“We confirm of an emergency landing by Air France’s flight from Mauritius at Moi Int’l Airport this morning after reports of a suspicious object was found on board,”Kenya Airports Authority said in a statement. “The object has successfully been retrieved from the Paris bound flight. Scheduled flights to Mombasa were disrupted this morning due to the incident.”
Airport operations have returned to normal and Kenya’s National Security Agents and Air France launched investigations into the incident.
Earlier, the Kenya Airports Authority said it was able to “foil a bombing attempt on Air France” before it edited its statement.
Benoit Lucchini, a passenger, told BBC News that passengers were calm and were told by the crew that the plane was being diverted due to a technical problem.
“The plane just went down, slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realised probably, something was wrong,” Lucchini said. “But the personnel of Air France were just great, just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm and really quiet.”
France remains on high alert after the Islamic State attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people on Nov. 13.