‘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.