February 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Hawaii man indicted for hoax hijack call on Sea-Tac flight
A federal grand jury has indicted a Hawaii man for allegedly calling the Honolulu FBI office last month to report a hijacker may be aboard a Kona-to-Seattle flight.
The Jan. 17 call turned out to be a hoax, but it prompted military jets to scramble and escort the Alaska Airlines flight in to Seattle. Authorities took one man off the plane and he cooperated with authorities. He was not arrested.
Timothy Hershman, 58, of Kona, was indicted on one count of providing false information, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, according to the FBI.
After the call was made to the FBI, two F-15 jets from the Oregon Air National Guard escorted Flight 819 in to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where FBI agents, Port of Seattle police and Transportation Security Administration personnel were waiting. The officers boarded the jet through rear stairs and removed the man from the plane, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said.
The passenger had been seated at the back of the aircraft and “slept most of the flight,” he added.
The flight crew was aware of the threat but reported no unusual behavior, McElroy said.
Passengers deplaned normally after the man was removed. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said airport K-9 dogs then checked the plane but found nothing amiss.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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