Suspicions force emergency landing, leading to evacuation and detaining of passengers.
German police now say terrorism suspicions aboard an EasyJet flight may have been unfounded, after those concerns lead pilots to request an emergency landing. NBC News reports that the aircraft made an unscheduled landing in Cologne, Germany after other passengers raised concerns of a discussion about terrorism.
The flight was bound for London from Slovenia when the decision was made to land the aircraft. Three individuals were having a discussion that alarmed at least one other passenger. The flyer then reported the conversation to the cabin crew, describing the nature of their talk as “terrorist.” The pilots were then alerted and made the decision to land the aircraft in Cologne.
Once the plane was on the ground, it was parked in a remote area in the event that an explosive was on the aircraft. Flyers were evacuated via inflatable slide. According to the Washington Post, the three flyers in question were arrested with charges of “state-threatening violence.” Among the evidence collected against the men was a book depicting a rifle with the word “kill” written inside and a backpack containing cables and power adapters. Police destroyed the backpack as a safety measure.
After being held for nine hours and questioning over 20 individuals, police conceded that the suspicions of terrorist activity were unfounded. All of the passengers were ultimately allowed to continue to their destination without further incident. In a statement to NBC News, EasyJet did not address the allegations of terrorism, but confirmed that passengers received meal and hotel vouchers during the ordeal.
Since the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester over the past two months, the world has been on higher alert for potential violence. In June, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security confirmed an expanded electronics ban was under consideration as one option to quell terrorist activity aboard commercial aircraft.