Flight crew on easyjet flight EZY3246, traveling from Ljubljana to London Stansted airport early on Saturday evening, alerted the pilot after three male passengers were overheard to use terror-related terms in their conversation. It was decided by the pilot to divert the plane to Germany, where the easyJet flight landed at the Cologne-Bonn Airport.

Three male passengers overheard using the words ‘explosive’ and ‘bomb’

Police in Germany have reported that three male passengers on the easyJet Airbus A319 were detained at Cologne airport for questioning after being overheard discussing “terrorist matters” on the flight.

Reportedly the words “explosive” and “bomb” were used in their conversation. A backpack carried by one the men was seized and later destroyed in a controlled explosion.

No information was given out about the contents of the backpack but the three terror suspects were interrogated by police late Saturday. A statement by the police said the men were being questioned on suspicion of preparing for “serious state-threatening violence.” According to a German-language statement by the police, their investigations into the contents of the backpack are not yet complete.

Security checks performed on easyJet plane in Cologne

On arrival in Cologne at 6:00 p.m., federal police carried out security checks of the plane after evacuating all 151 passengers from the easyJet aircraft using the emergency slides. Officials then questioned the passengers and inspected baggage on board the flight.

As reported by The Guardian, six other aircraft had to be diverted to alternative airports due to the investigation by the federal police.

However, the Independent reports there were a total of 10 flights affected. Reportedly air traffic at the Cologne-Bonn Airport was impacted for several hours.

Passengers on easyJet flight offered overnight stay in Cologne

In a statement following the incident a spokeswoman for easyJet explained that for the safety of passengers, the pilot of the plane took the decision to divert the flight, in order for additional security checks to be made by Cologne police.

The spokeswoman said that complying with local federal authorities, passengers were removed from the plane to allow for security checks to be carried out.

The statement continued by stating that all passengers were offered a hotel room for the night and would continue on their way to London Stansted Airport on Sunday morning. The spokeswoman concluded by saying easyJet’s highest priority is to the safety of the airline’s passengers.