Two passengers on an Air France flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Kenya over a bomb scare have been arrested upon returning to Paris. Flight AF463 from Mauritius to the French capital was diverted to Mombasa on 20 December, after a suspicious device was found in a lavatory.
All 459 passengers and 14 crew were evacuated. They finally reached Charles de Gaulle Airport on 21 December after it was revealed the package was not a bomb.
A couple was taken into custody by French authorities. One is reportedly a 58-year-old former policeman from the French overseas territory of Reunion, while the second is said to be his wife.
It follows the air carrier's announcement that it was to take legal action against those behind the hoax for "endangering the life of others". Pilots of the Boeing 777 requested an emergency landing at Mombasa Moi International Airport after passengers alerted cabin crew of an item similar to a bomb on board.
The object was retrieved by Kenyan authorities and tore apart by bomb experts, revealing no explosives. Air France CEO Frederic Gagey said it was made only of cardboard, paper and a household timer, adding it appeared to be the result of a "bad joke".
Six passengers, including the man that first reported the suspicious item, were questioned by Kenyan detectives as the plane waited to depart again.
At Paris airport landing passengers were overwhelmed to have finally made it. "We thought we were going to die. Because of the speed of the airplane going down, we thought we would crash in the sea," passenger Marine Gorlier told AP.
"I really admired the crew, because they thought it was a real bomb and they remained very serene," added Antoine Dupont. "One of my grandchildren said: 'The slide was super!'
AF463 was the fourth Air France flight to be diverted over a bomb threat in recent weeks. No bomb was found in any of the previous occasions. France has been on high alert following the Islamist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November.