A transatlantic jet was forced to divert to Shannon Airport this afternoon following a security alert on board.
Air France flight AF-136 was travelling from Paris, France to Chicago in the U.S. when a ’suspicious’ mobile phone was found on the aircraft.
The aircraft was almost two hours into its journey when the pilot advised air traffic controllers that they wished to divert to Shannon Airport for “security reasons.”
The flight was cleared to turn around and divert to Shannon where airport authorities and An Garda Síochána had been alerted to the situation.
It’s understood that a mobile phone was found on board the aircraft and that efforts to identify an owner were unsuccessful. When no one came forward to claim the phone, the crew opted to divert to Shannon.
The flight landed safely at 4.41pm and was pursued along the runway by airport fire crews who were mobilised as a precaution as the aircraft had made and overweight landing.
The Airbus A330-200 jet was directed to a remote taxiway where airport police officers and Gardaí were waiting to meet the aircraft.
The phone was removed from the aircraft and taken to the terminal building where it was scanned by airport police officers and Gardaí. The passengers were not disembarked from the flight.
It’s thought that the phone may have been left on the aircraft by a passenger from a previous flight and that it lay undiscovered when the aircraft was cleaned later.
The jet was later moved to the terminal building where it was refuelled before continuing its journey to Chicago shortly before 7pm.
Garda Inspector Paul Slattery of Shannon said: “The phone was removed from the aircraft and taken to the terminal where it was X-rayed by airport police officers and Gardaí. Once we were satisfied the phone was safe, it was returned to Air France staff."
Air France was contacted for a comment.