Latest: Three men released without charge following plane diversion

Latest: Three men released without charge following plane diversion
File photo.

Update 5.05pm: German police have released three British men without charge after their conversations forced a London-bound Easyjet flight to be diverted to Cologne.

Other passengers on the flight from Slovenia reported hearing them talking about "terrorist matters".

A backpack that belonged to one of the men was examined and destroyed in a controlled explosion, but nothing dangerous was found.

Update: 4.31pm German police say no explosives were found on a diverted London-bound Easyjet plane.

The pilot decided to make an unscheduled landing in Cologne over concerns about a suspicious conversation on board.

Three men arrested are still being questioned.

Earlier; Passengers on a London-bound easyJet flight which was forced to land and evacuate had reported a conversation including "terrorist content", police in Germany have said.

All 151 passengers on the flight from Ljubljana, in Slovenia, were evacuated down emergency chutes after the pilot took the decision to make an unscheduled landing at Cologne-Bonn airport, in Germany, at around 5pm on Saturday.

Three men were arrested after every passenger was made to leave the plane and undergo a security check.

A Cologne police statement said: "During the flight, other passengers had made the crew aware of the men.

"According to the witnesses, these had been the subject of terrorist content.

"Thereupon the flight captain had decided to carry out an evacuation in Cologne around 6pm (local time).

"There, the machine was cleared in a secure area via emergency slides.

"The three suspects were arrested. Officials of the federal police ensured a backpack in the passenger area to be assigned to the men.

"This was inspected outside the aircraft by a defiler and was blown up in a controlled manner."

The police statement added the three men were being interrogated and they were investigating "on the suspicion of the preparation of a serious state-threatening violence".

A spokesman for Cologne-Bonn airport said the pilot took the decision to land the plane.

"Prior to this, the pilot had been informed about a suspicious conversation on board, after which he decided to make an unscheduled landing in Cologne-Bonn.

"After the safe landing of the aircraft of the type A319, the 151 passengers left the machine via emergency slides and were taken to a transit gate.

"The police have been informed and have taken action.

"Thus, passengers had to undergo a check immediately after landing."

Flights were suspended at the airport for three hours.

An easyJet spokeswoman said: "easyJet can confirm that flight EZY3246 from Ljubljana to London Stansted diverted to Cologne on Saturday.

"The captain took the decision as a precaution to enable the aircraft to go through additional security checks in Cologne where the aircraft was met by the police.

"In compliance with the local authorities' guidance, passengers disembarked to allow additional security checks to be performed."

She added the passengers had been given a hotel stay for the night and would fly back on Sunday morning.

"We thank passengers for their understanding," she said.

"The safety of easyJet's passengers and crew is our highest priority."

More in this Section

Horror fire in New Delhi kills at least 34Horror fire in New Delhi kills at least 34

Global sleep-out across 52 cities worldwide shines spotlight on homelessnessGlobal sleep-out across 52 cities worldwide shines spotlight on homelessness

US student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swapUS student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swap

18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria


Lifestyle

A decade on from their split, Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Carmit Bachar and Jessica Sutta are back together for a tour of the UK and Ireland in April next year.The Pussycat Dolls: Using the second of their nine lives

Ellie O’Byrne paid a visit to the Kabin in Knocknaheeny to see the supportive atmosphere that gave rise to the duo behind the ‘Yeah Boy’ hit.You’d need to have had your head buried in the sand not to have come across MC Tiny and MC The King

Aoife Buckley, one of the recipients of this year's Gaisce Gold award: It's ok to be different.School Daze with Aoife Buckley: I started working towards the Gaisce Awards in third year

Festive seasons come and go, but some moments can never be forgotten, discovers Donal O’Keeffe.Stories of Christmas past and present

More From The Irish Examiner