German police question 3 Britons after flight diverted

A spokesman for Cologne-Bonn airport said yesterday: "The pilot had been informed about a suspicious conversation on board, after which he decided to make an unscheduled landing in Cologne-Bonn".

Passengers were evacuated from the aircraft by emergency slides, and one of the three men's bags was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

An EasyJet flight en-route to London was diverted to Cologne, Germany after passengers were reportedly overheard speaking of "bombs" and "explosives". On Sunday, a police spokesman said it was unclear if any charges would be brought against the men.

Federal police were called in, with authorities rushing onto the aircraft once the 151 passengers had been evacuated on Saturday afternoon.

"We thank passengers for their understanding", EasyJet said in the statement.

Passengers on easyJet flight EZY3246 on Saturday, travelling from Slovenia to England, complained to airline staff that the men were talking about "terrorist matters".

Bild newspaper quoted a spokesman for the German federal police as saying the pilot chose to land the aircraft in Cologne after passengers told airline personnel they had heard the men using words including "bomb" and "explosive".

"At present, Cologne police authorities assume that a real threat situation did not exist", police said.

"Investigations continue regarding the suspicion of preparations for a serious violent crime that could have jeopardised the state", the statement said.

The easyJet flight to London was diverted to Cologne. But no risky contents or explosives were found in the bag or on board the aircraft.

Easyjet said the flight would take off after passengers had been provided with overnight hotel accommodation.

"The safety of easyJet passengers and crew is our highest priority", the company said in a statement.

However, the three arrested passengers were later released after police officers who questioned them and examined their cellphones found no evidence they had planned an attack.

The close down caused 17 arriving flights to divert to alternate airports, while another 20 departures were partly or significantly delayed.

  • Zachary Reyes