The alleged threat was directed at an Air China flight from Paris.  Picture:  AFP
The alleged threat was directed at an Air China flight from Paris. Picture: AFP

Aussie held after terror ‘threat’ on Air China flight

AN Australian citizen is believed to have been detained in France after a mix-up saw an Air China plane forced to return to Paris after an apparent terror threat.

It comes after the Boeing 787 heading to Beijing was forced to turn back and land at Paris' Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport shortly after it took off at 12.30pm local time (8.30pm Thursday AEST).

According to Le Parisien newspaper, an Australian man has been "placed in custody'' pending an investigation by the public prosecutor of Bobigny, a commune in northeastern Paris near the main airport.

French authorities say what appeared to be a terror threat had later emerged as a false alarm.

This does not explain why the man was taken into custody.

The drama happened when Air China flight CA876 was passing over the French/Belgian border, on its way to Paris.

"Air China has received a suspicious message of a terrorist nature. The flight CA876 returned to Paris without incident, with passengers who are unscathed,'' the company said in a statement.

The company believed it had been told there was a bomb on board the plane.

However, French authorities some hours later determined it was a false alarm based on a miscommunication.

A passenger - presumably the Australian - had been trying to tell the company he had been delayed due to an abandoned package in the airport terminal.

"A passenger delayed by an abandoned package in Roissy airport phoned the company (Air China) to say that there was a bomb in the terminal and the person he was speaking to understood that there was a bomb on board the plane," an airport official told AFP news agency.

The South China Morning Post reported that video had emerged from inside the plane showing police and sniffer dogs at the scene.

News Corp has sought comment from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra.

Numerous media outlets in France are reporting that an Australian is in custody.



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