The precaution was taken so authorities could safely assess the phone

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 25, 2019 12:27 PM
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Air France
Credit: PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty

An unattended cell phone aboard an Air France flight caused the plane to turn around over the weekend.

Flight AF-136, en route from Paris to Chicago, underwent a flight diversion on Sunday, rerouting while soaring above the Atlantic Ocean to make a landing at the Shannon Airport in Ireland, according to Irish media outlet The Journal.

The precaution was taken after flight staff discovered a cell phone on the plane, which no passengers claimed as their own, forcing the pilot to ground the Airbus A330 for authorities to inspect the suspicious device.

Emergency teams, including fire and security squads, met the plane upon its landing at Shannon, and passengers stayed on the plane as the phone was handed over to authorities. The phone was then X-rayed and deemed unthreatening, probably left behind by a previous passenger and overlooked by cleaners, according to reports.

Air France
Map indicating flight diversion

“Once we were satisfied the phone was safe, it was returned to Air France staff,” an Irish police official told The Journal.

“Air France states that all customers and crew members are subject to a security screening inspection before being allowed to board a flight and that flight safety is its main priority,” a spokesperson for the airline told USA Today.

The incident caused a three-and-a-half-hour delay for the flight, which refueled and continued its journey to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where it landed at around 8 p.m. local time.

This isn’t the first time the Irish airport has provided a safe landing place for a troubled flight. In February of this year, a Condor Airlines flight was diverted while in the middle of the Atlantic after one of its pilots spilled coffee on the control panel resulting in minor smoking, the plane turned around and landed at the Shannon Airport for repairs.