Saturday 17 March 2018

'The crew told us it was a technical problem so everyone stayed calm' - Irishman on board Air France bomb-hoax flight

The Air France plane was diverted to Kenya amid the bomb alert (AP)
The Air France plane was diverted to Kenya amid the bomb alert (AP)
False alarm: Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey. Photo: Reuters

Sarah-Jane Murphy

An Irishman has spoken of his distress at realising that there was a problem on board Air France flight 463.

Stephen Ciaran from Dublin was sitting towards the rear of the Boeing 777, watching a movie, when he noticed the cabin crew enacting emergency drills.

The 30-year-old thought the flight from Mauritius to Paris was experiencing technical issues, and had no inkling that a suspected bomb had been located in a toilet.

“I was very distressed because I could see we were far from the destination.

“I thought the plane had problems – not that it had anything to do with terrorism.

“The cabin crew told us it was a technical problem and created a calm environment among the passengers," Mr Ciaran told the Irish Mirror.

Mr Ciaran was making his way back to Dublin from Reunion Island, which is located off the African coast.

Read More: Former police officer arrested after fake bomb alert on Air France flight forced emergency landing

He said passengers moved to reassure each other as their flight was promptly diverted .

“The plane arrived in Mombasa [Kenya] at around 1.30am and the passengers disembarked using emergency slides.

“A couple of people got twisted ankles but no one was seriously injured," Mr Ciaran said.

Bomb squad officers removed the device away and later confirmed it was a fake bomb.

The device was left in the plane’s lavatory, with a timer attached.

Air France chief executive Frederic Gagey said: “It was a false alarm.

"All the information available to us at the moment indicates the object was not capable of creating an explosion or damaging a plane, but was rather a mixture of cardboard, sheets of paper and a timer.”

Read More: Air France plane device was fake bomb, airline chief confirms

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