A Fareham father and son have spoken out after their holiday flight home from Slovenia had to be diverted to Cologne.
Martin Prince and his son Mark had to exit the plane using escape chutes after passengers reported hearing people on board talking about ‘bombs’ and ‘explosives’.
Their easyJet plane, from Slovenian capital Ljubljana to Stansted, was forced to land in Cologne on Saturday evening.
Martin, a business operations manager, said: ‘In mid-air the pilot announced that we were going to land for operational reasons.
‘Once on the ground we sat for ages until a van carrying armed police arrived. Everyone was calm and the easyJet staff were fantastic.
‘There were no stairs available so we were told to leave the aircraft by sliding down the inflatable chutes.’
There were no stairs available so we were told to leave left the aircraft by sliding down the inflatable chutes.Martin Prince
German newspaper Bild reported that passengers had overhead men talking about ‘terrorist matters’, and one was carrying a suspicious backpack.
Martin added: ‘We were taken to a holding area. It took a long while for the 40-strong police team to interview all 151 passengers and the flight crew.
‘Sniffer dogs were used to search the plane.
‘Eventually, after eleven hours we boarded a flight back to Stansted where the easyJet chief operations manager was there to greet. I told him how fantastic the staff had been.’
The pair had returned from a 10-day walking holiday in Slovenia’s Julian Alps.
Mark, 19, said: ‘They’re very beautiful but it’s great to be home. We had one day of bad weather but overall it was good for walking.
‘We’d go there again but we’re both glad to be back home.’
Three passengers were questioned by police but were later released without charge.
The backpack, which belonged to one of the men, was examined and blown up in a controlled explosion after police found potentially suspicious cables inside.
But a German police spokesman nothing dangerous was found inside.
An easyJet spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that flight EZY3246 from Ljubljana to London Stansted diverted to Cologne on June 10.
‘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.
‘In compliance with the local authorities’ guidance passengers disembarked to allow additional security checks to be performed.
‘The passengers were provided with refreshments and hotel accommodation overnight and flew back to the UK.
‘We thank passengers for their understanding. The safety of easyJet’s passengers and crew is our highest priority.’