'Hijacking' threat made against Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle

Two fighter jets escorted an Alaska Airlines flight to Sea-Tac airport after the FBI was alerted to a potential hijacker onboard.

An anonymous caller to the FBI field office in Honolulu reported a man aboard Alaska Airlines flight 819 from Kona to Seattle was planning to take passengers hostage.

The F-15 jets were called in from the Oregon National Guard to ensure the flight landed safely. It took off from Kona at 11:25 a.m. local time and landed, on schedule, at 7:05 p.m. PST.

Once on the tarmac, a man aboard the plane was taken into custody by the FBI, with assistance from Port of Seattle police and the Transportation Security Administration. A K-9 unit was brought in to check the plane for explosives.

According to an FBI spokesperson, the man slept during most of the flight and did not cause a disturbance on the plane.

"It was a normal flight and the passenger didn't do anything unusual on the plane," said Tom Simon, a special agent with the field office in Honolulu.

The man was questioned and released around 10:20 p.m.

Simon said the FBI will look into the possibility that the call was a prank.

"If it turns out he's not a hijacker, never intended to do so, then we'd have to take a look and see why in the world someone would make a hoax call like this," he said.

A Port of Seattle spokesperson said there was no disruption to air traffic at SeaTac at any point during the investigation.


Brandi Kruse, KIRO Radio Reporter
Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.
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