On January 18, a 23-year-old French college student called in a bomb threat in an effort to keep his parents from visiting. EasyJet Flight 4219 from Lyon to Rennes with 159 passengers on board was forced to turn around just after takeoff at 3 pm and return to Lyon after being notified of a potential bomb threat.
Back in Lyon, a fire brigade was waiting for the plane. After the passengers disembarked, the police searched the aircraft for the bomb but found nothing. “The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority,” the airline said in a statement.
The passengers were then scheduled on a later flight. “The person behind the act has been identified,” the public prosecutor of Rennes said. “It was a 23-year-old student who did not wish his parents, who were aboard the plane, to join him in Rennes.”
After being taken into custody, the student was referred to the Rennes public prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor stated that the young man does not appear to have a psychological disorder. He is scheduled to appear in court in May and could face five years in prison and an $85,000 fine if found guilty.
The last airplane bombing occurred on February 2, 2016. Daallo Airlines Flight 159, an Airbus A321, suffered an explosion after taking off from Mogadishu, Somalia. The bomb opened a hole in the fuselage and expelled the burnt body of the suicide bomber. The airliner managed to execute an emergency landing and no fatalities were recorded. The militant group Al-Shabaab, a jihadist fundamentalist group based in East Africa, claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The most serious airplane bombing occurred on December, 21 1988, when Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747 that was flying from Frankfurt to New York via London was destroyed by a bomb. All 259 people aboard the plane were killed. Also, 11 people on the ground died after large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland.
The bomb was manufactured from PETN and RDX high explosives hidden in a radio cassette player. Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted in connection with the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has since been released on compassionate grounds due to terminal prostate cancer.