A false alarm following an “explosion” heard at the Gare du Nord was caused by a pigeon electrocuting itself on a power line, it has emerged.
In a sign of the heightened state of alert across Paris in the aftermath of the shootings a week ago, the station was evacuated at around midday on Sunday amid Twitter reports of a “flash” and “a big bang”.
Police moved in to secure the area and, having established that it was a false alarm, allowed people to re-enter the station.
The French national rail operator, SNCF, later told French media the noise was caused by a pigeon, which was believed to have landed and been “grillé” on the powered cables above the tracks.
Stephane Brossard, a spokesman for the Paris police, confirmed that the noises which he said some thought were "gunshots" were caused by a pigeon on the tracks.
Nottingham graduate Sagar Shah told The Independent from the scene that he initially believed the noise may have been made by a train, but "people understandably got scared".
“The station is now back to normal,” he said. “It seems like a false alarm, but it shows how tense things are.”
On Wednesday, police carried out a controlled explosion on a bag left unattended outside the station, sparking another brief evacuation.
France remains in a "state of emergency", and will be for the next three months, after politicians voted to extend it last week.
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