Officials at Air France have confirmed that a bomb scare was a “false alarm.” Air France Flight 463 was flying from Kenya to Paris, France when the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Mombasa due to the discovery of a suspicious object within the plane’s toilet compartment. Although it was originally feared that the package contained actual explosives, updated reports indicate that the Air France bomb scare may have just been a terrorist bombing attack hoax.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Kenya’s terrorists attacks have increased dramatically in number since the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) deployed troops in neighboring Somalia in order to hunt down al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups like al-Shabaab.
Initial reports about the Air France flight seemed to confirm that a bomb had been found on the plane. An unnamed official in Kenya told reporters that the package was a “real bomb and it could have exploded airborne or on arriving in Paris.” Charles Owino, a spokesman for the Kenyan Police, also said, “Bomb experts from the navy and the CID were called in and took the device which they are dismantling to establish if it had any explosives.”
All the 473 pax of Air France 463 have been screened at the airport lounge & taken to hotels in Mombasa. pic.twitter.com/ffyumbEsRg
— Kenya Airports (@KenyaAirports) December 20, 2015
One of the Facebook posts by the Kenya Airports Authority originally referred to the package as a bomb, but then later in the morning on Sunday the post was edited to refer to a “suspicious object.”
“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. The object has successfully been retrieved from the Paris bound flight. Scheduled flights to Mombasa were disrupted this morning due to the incident. Normal airport operations have resumed at Moi International Airport. Investigations are underway by the National Security Agents on the ground and Air France.”
A passenger aboard Air France Flight 463 told journalists in Mombasa that no one panicked during the emergency landing, with the witness claiming that none of the passengers even realized there was a potential terrorist bomb threat.
“The plane just went down slowly, slowly, slowly, so we just realized probably something was wrong,” Benoit Lucchini explained, according to USA Today. “The personnel of Air France were just great, they were just wonderful. So they keep everybody calm. We did not know what was happening.”
Photos of the supposed Air France bomb were released onto social media in recent times. Based upon a quick glance, it definitely appeared to be a real bomb, since it was a clock-like device mounted to four brick-like objects, which one could presume to be explosives. There is even a wire attached from the digital clock to the four bricks.
Air France did confirm the bomb is not real at all. According to the Associated Press, Air France CEO Frederic Gagey told reporters the suspicious-looking “object did not contain explosives” but was made of cardboard, paper, and a household timer. Gagey denied that there was a security failure related to the bombing scare, saying that a safety check was held in the bathroom before the flight took off.
So far, reports have not been clear about any arrests related to the Air France bombing scare. Kenya’s the Star claims that five people were arrested, noting that the suspects were “two Muslims and three Christians.” But according to Mombasa’s local news company, NTV Kenya, Ambassador Monica Juma and other government authorities have arrested only one unnamed passenger related to the Air France bombing scare.
Amb Monica Juma now in closed door meeting with security bosses in Mombasa. Source tells NTV at least one Air France passenger in custody
— NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) December 20, 2015
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]