Phone’s owner could not be located
An Air France flight had to divert to Shannon after a “suspicious” mobile phone was found onboard.
Flight AF136 was two hours into the scheduled service from Paris to Chicago when the pilot informed air traffic controllers that they thought it best to land in west Ireland “for security reasons”.
It came after an unclaimed phone was found onboard. Efforts were made to find the device’s owner, to no avail.
The flight touched down just after 4.30pm on 20 October, and was met at Shannon airport by fire services due to the plane being heavier than usual with unused fuel when it landed.
The aircraft was manoeuvred onto an outlying taxiway, where the phone was removed to be inspected by gardaí and police.
“The phone was removed from the aircraft and taken to the terminal where it was X-rayed by airport police officers and gardaí,” Garda Inspector Paul Slattery told thejournal.ie. “Once we were satisfied the phone was safe, it was returned to Air France staff.”
Passengers stayed onboard, and the Airbus A330-200 plane took off again just before 7pm after refuelling.
Flight tracking website Flightradar24 shows the jet’s flight path as it overshot Ireland and turned back.
“Air France confirms that the crew of flight AF136 from Paris CDG to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on 20 October 2019 decided to divert as a precautionary measure after a mobile phone was found and not claimed by the passengers on board,” an airline spokesperson told The Independent.
“The plane landed at Shannon (SNN) in Ireland for the crew to hand over the phone to the authorities before leaving for Chicago where the plane landed at 8.26pm.
“Air France would like to remind you that all passengers, crew members and staff are subject to a screening inspection before being allowed to board a flight and that flight safety is of utmost importance.”
It follows another flight diversion caused by a mobile phone.
In September 2019, a Qantas flight from Sydney to Canberra was forced to turn back midway through the journey after two men became embroiled in an argument over a mobile phone.
According to another passenger, the altercation started when the younger man refused to turn his phone off while flight QF1421 was still taxiing on the runway.
The unnamed witness told news.com.au that they didn’t hear a fight break out, but that word quickly spread that the older man had “snatched the other guy’s phone and threw it”.
The flight attendant allegedly got involved, saying to the older man: “That’s not your job that’s my job.”