Broken toilets force Air France jet to return to Brazil

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An Air France plane en route to Paris from Brazil was forced to make an emergency return to Rio de Janeiro because several of the aircraft's toilets did not work, the company said Wednesday.

The Boeing 747 airplane with 443 passengers on board departed Rio at 4:20 pm Tuesday.

Two-and-half hours into the flight, the pilot made a decision to return to Rio after it was learned that at least six of the plane's toilets were out of order.

Air France said that completing the 11-hour flight without properly working facilities would have caused "great discomfort for our passengers."

Upon disembarking, passengers were driven to their homes or put up in Rio area hotels, but many nevertheless described the incident as ""chaotic," "absurd" and "unimaginable."

"We got as far as Recife and had to return to Rio -- a roundtrip flight of five hours" said student Gabriela Meira, recounting the ordeal.

"We missed connecting flights. We lost two days of travel on a trip that we scrimped and saved for for more than six years," she told Brazil's GloboNews.

The plane was due to make another attempt to fly to Paris on Wednesday at 11:55 pm (0255 GMT).

The incident follows an emergency landing of a Paris-bound Air France jumbo jet in Recife last weekend following a false bomb alert.

© 2010 AFP

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