A fake bomb threat in an EasyJet flight from Lyon to Rennes, France, forced the plane to turn back for inspection on January 18, 2019. The caller has been identified as a 23-year-old student that did not want to meet his parents.
The EasyJet Airbus A319, registered as G-EZDA, was about to carry out flight U24319 from Lyon Saint Exupery Airport (LYS) to Rennes Saint Jacques Airport (RNS) when an anonymous phone call reported the presence of a bomb in the plane. It diverted back to Lyon, interrupting all traffic for 40 minutes in the airport. All 150 passengers and their luggage were thoroughly searched by the police. The flight was eventually carried out by another aircraft and crew, seven hours later.
The caller, which was arrested, is a 23-year-old student. “He did not want his parents, who had boarded this plane, to join him in Rennes,” explained the prosecutor office of Rennes, quoted by local media Ouest France. He added that the student “acknowledged the facts. He does not appear to have a psychological disorder, and is totally unknown to the police. The motivation of his act is in no way related to any terrorist action”.
He should be heard by the court of May 22, 2019, and risks up to five years in prison and a €75,000 fine for “communication of false news compromising the safety of an aircraft in flight.” Until then, the student is banned from approaching any airport.
Fake bomb threats to settle personal dispute are not as rare as one would think. On December 7, 2018, an Aeroflot’s Boeing 737-800, carrying 119 passengers and six crew members, was on its way from Moscow (SVO) to Irkutsk (IKT), when an anonymous person called the police to report a bomb on board, which turned out to be a false alarm. While the motive of the man is still being investigated, local media Vesti suggested that he called the police to annoy his wife after a quarrel.