'Bomb alert' at Paris's Gare du Nord turns out to be pigeon electrocuting itself

The large bang and apparent flash of light caused the station to be briefly evacuated

Adam Withnall
Sunday 22 November 2015 14:42
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Commuters and travellers walks through the Gare du Nord railway station on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after the terrorist attacks that left 130 dead and more than 350 injured
Commuters and travellers walks through the Gare du Nord railway station on November 16, 2015 in Paris, three days after the terrorist attacks that left 130 dead and more than 350 injured

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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