UK-bound plane diverted; 3 held over 'suspicious conversation'
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 2:40
Three British men are being held over suspicious conversations held on board a UK-bound easyJet flight.
Passengers flagged three men to the crew during the flight, asserting they overheard a "suspicious conversation".
Bild newspaper quoted a spokesman for the German federal police as saying the pilot made a decision to land the aircraft in Cologne after passengers told airline personnel they had heard the men using words including "bomb" and "explosive".
One backpack belonging to the men was blown up by police.
The men arrested were aged 31, 38 and 48, a spokesman for Cologne police said.
"After the safe landing. the 151 passengers left the [aircraft] via emergency slides and were taken to a transit gate".
"A passenger was on the flight said to Sky News: "We were told they would board to deal with a security situation", said the passenger".
Another was traveling with a backpack full of charging cables and power outlet adapters, which a bomb squad detonated as a precaution. Cologne police searched the plane using sniffer dogs, but later gave the all-clear. The remaining passengers had departed on another easyJet plane for London earlier on Sunday.
The three suspects were questioned at a police station along with the crew and 17 passengers.
"At the moment Cologne police believe there was no actual threat", spokesman Christoph Gilles said.
"We thank passengers for their understanding", the airline said.
The airport spokeswoman said air traffic had returned to normal after a three-hour interruption on Saturday evening.
All 151 passengers on the flight from Ljubljana, in Slovenia, were evacuated down emergency chutes and several people suffered minor injuries, Cologne police said.
All passengers were put up in a hotel for the night and they will fly back to Stansted airport Sunday.
"In compliance with the local authorities' guidance, passengers disembarked to allow additional security checks to be performed".