MOMBASA: An Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris made an emergency landing in Mombasa International Airport early Sunday morning following a bomb scare, police said.
The Boeing 777 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 am.
It had 459 passengers and 14 crew members on board and had left Mauritius at 9 pm.
“The pilots requested an emergency landing when a device suspected to be an explosive was discovered in the lavatory,” Police Spokesman Charles Owino said.
He added all passengers were safely evacuated and the device taken out.
A witness said a passenger went to toilet and came back informing the crew he had spotted a device. The crew later informed the captain who decided to make an emergency landing.
He said an investigation on the device had been launched to “determine if the device had explosives.”
“Experts from the (Kenya) Navy and the CID are dismantling and analysing the device,” said a witness.
Other sources said the device had been found to be real and a suspect was in custody.
“It is a real bomb and it could have exploded airborne or on arriving in Paris. More will be disclosed but we have a suspect in custody,” said an official who asked not to be named.
The plane was still at the airport on Sunday morning. Officials said the passengers had refused to board the plane and asked for another one.
The airport was evacuated as the plane landed and was later searched before the device was taken away.
Outgoing Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma was sent to Mombasa on Sunday morning to handle the crisis and later address a press conference.
There was no immediate statement from the airline.
Top security officials are now at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa and the explosive has been removed from plane for detonation. The airport has now been reopened.
The Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery says a number of passengers in Air France flight still being questioned about suspicious device, France and Mauritius to help determine if it is a bomb.
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