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Beeping BlackBerry Triggers 'Mayday' Call, Flight Diversion

AP

Anyone who has traveled on a commercial flight in recent years has no doubt heard flight attendants' instructions to shut off electronic devices during take off and landing, and to keep cell phones off for the entire flight. The reason given typically involves the potential for interference with the plane's avionics.

Now, we now have another terrific reason why you should take particular care to heed their directions. This comes to us from the Aviation Herald:

An Air France Airbus A320-200, registration F-GKXF performing flight AF-2220 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Tel Aviv (Israel), was enroute at FL280 about 5nm north of Basel (Switzerland), when upon checking in with Swiss Radar the crew reported they had a foreign object on board and were considering to divert. 4 minutes later the crew declared Mayday, Mayday, Mayday reporting they had some "foreign noise" on board and decided to divert to Basel/Mulhouse Airport (Switzerland/France), where the aircraft landed safely about 20 minutes later.

The noise in question was a strange "beeping."

Passengers reported a bleeping sound was heard in about the 5th seat row in the cabin, cabin crew was called and tried to determine the source of the bleeping however could not find anything, the sound was considered to originate from a bomb. The captain was informed and decided to divert. The aircraft stopped in a remote area of Mulhouse's Airport, passengers disembarked and the aircraft was searched.

Despite a fairly intense search, the crew was unable to locate the source of the sound and decided to get on the ground as quickly as possible and let the professionals find the phantom device.

The search was finally successful. The report continues:

Following the search the passengers were told the bleeping sound was the reminder call of a BlackBerry which hadn't been turned off.

A beeping BlackBerry!

Air France said the aircraft diverted to Mulhouse due to a technical incident, the passengers were taken to hotels over night and are to continue their journey in the afternoon of Mar 1st.
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