Unruly passenger on Hawaii-bound flight released without charges
Advertiser staff and news services
Two F-15 fighter jets were called to escort a Maui-bound Hawaiian Airlines flight back to Portland today due to a disruptive passenger.
Federal authorities say the man has been released without charges. The FBI says there is no known link to terrorists.
Military officials say the jets were sent up Wednesday as a precaution.
The FBI says it questioned a 56-year-old man from Salem, Ore., and turned the matter over to federal prosecutors.
Hawaiian Flight 39 was about an hour and a half out into its flight of Portland when crew members reported an uncooperative passenger on board, the airline said.
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration says the passenger made threatening remarks and refused to stow his carry-on luggage.
The crew then turned the plane around at 10:10 a.m. West Coast time. The passenger was taken off the aircraft at Portland International Airport, said Hawaiian spokesman Keoni Wagner.
“The crew elected as a precaution to turn around and bring the person back to Portland,” said Wagner.
A North American Aerospace Defense Command official told the Associated Press that the fighter jets intercepted the Hawaiian Airlines flight shortly after the pilot decided to turn around.
After refueling, flight 39 took off for Maui at 12:45 p.m., Wagner said.
Johnson said the plane was searched by security officials and cleared for travel.
The action comes amid heightened concern about airline security and the charge that a Nigerian man tried to blow up a jetliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.