French police detain man over Air France false alarm

Air France flight 463 sits parked at Moi International Airport in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on Dec 20, 2015.
Air France flight 463 sits parked at Moi International Airport in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on Dec 20, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (Reuters) - French border police detained a man on Monday (Dec 21) after an Air France plane had to make an emergency landing in Kenya over a suspicious device later found to be harmless, prosecutors said.

Air France staff decided late on Saturday to divert the plane to the nearest airport during a flight from Mauritius to Paris after a passenger found the object in the toilets and alerted crew.

The prosecutors gave no details about the man taken into custody, though BFM TV said he was a former police officer and had been detained on arrival in Paris.

Air France said all 459 passengers and 14 crew had arrived safely at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport shortly before 0600 GMT. The airline said it had filed a complaint for "reckless endangerment" over the incident.

Air France said the suspicious object, which was found in a small cupboard behind a mirror in the toilets, was made out of cardboard and paper and contained a timer, and must have been planted during the flight.