A joke gone bad by an Ethiopian man in a Kenya Airways flight led to panic and eventual cancellation of the flight.
The Ethiopian man, Chifraye Bekele was sentenced to four months in prison on Thursday for joking about a bomb after boarding a Kenya Airways flight.
Chifraye Bekele’s joke led to the cancellation of the Johannesburg-bound flight in April and to a three-hour shutdown of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in the capital, Nairobi.
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Magistrate Christine Njagi found him guilty of “imperilling the safety of aircraft and persons on board”.
According to the judgement, passed on to the BBC, Bekele had said to a flight attendant as she was closing an overhead locker: “Why are you scared? You think it’s a bomb?”
The flight attendant consulted her colleagues and also informed the captain, who decided to taxi back for the plane to be searched.
All the passengers had to disembark, resulting in the cancellation of the flight.
Bekele was taken into custody and has been in prison since then.
In court, testifying via a translator, he said he did not make the joke as he only spoke Amharic and not English.
But the magistrate sentenced him to four months in jail or a 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($1,000; £800) fine.
At the moment he cannot pay the fine, so remains in prison.