A commercial airline pilot flying from Slovenia to Germany grounded a plane Saturday after passengers told flight attendants that “several men were talking about terrorist activities.”
Three British men, ages 31, 38, and 48 respectively, were arrested and taken into custody once the plane landed in the Cologne-Bonn airport, ABC News reports. They were questioned “on suspicion they planned a serious crime against the state.”
Police reportedly said that a female passenger onboard overheard a conversation between the three men and that one of them had a book showing the word “kill” and a picture of a sniper rifle.
German authorities accompanied with detection dogs surveyed the airplane, but found nothing incriminating or dangerous. Out of precaution, however, they isolated and detonated a backpack belonging to one of the men because it contained wires. The cables and chords were later presumed to just be a charging device.
Local law enforcement forced the other passengers to leave the easyJet aircraft using the emergency slides. Most of them had to stay overnight so that they could finish their trip to the U.K. Several passengers also allegedly got hurt while exiting the plane.
Authorities later released the three men Sunday.
“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,” easyJet said in a statement, according to ABC News. “We thank passengers for their understanding. The safety of easyJet’s passengers and crew is our highest priority.” (RELATED: British Airways Cancels All Flights After Computer System Abruptly Fails)
Both Germany, where the flight was diverted to, and the U.K., where the flight’s true destination was, have experienced a number of severe terrorist attacks in recent months. Many on the European continent are somewhat paranoid when it comes to purported murmurs of violence, especially on airplanes.
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