On 1/6/10, CBS Reported the following story:
Two F-15 fighter jets escorted a flight bound for Hawaii back to Portland International Airport after a passenger became disruptive Wednesday afternoon.
A TSA official has confirmed to CBS News that Hawaiian Airlines flight 39 from Portland to Kahului Airport in Maui returned to Portland after a passenger made threatening remarks and refused to store his carry-on bag.
The captain made the decision to declare an emergency. The plane landed at 4:16 p.m. without incident.
Federal authorities said late Wednesday that the disruptive passenger has been released without charges. The FBI says there is no known link to terrorists.
The FBI says it questioned a 56-year-old man from Salem, Ore., and turned the matter over to federal prosecutors.
Military officials say the jets were sent up Wednesday as a precaution.
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.
Keoni Wagner, vice president of public affairs with Hawaiian Airlines, told the station it was a very "low level" incident involving one passenger.
The FAA has confirmed the "level 1" incident, reports CBS affiliate KOIN in Portland. According to the FAA and the Royal Aeronatical Society, a level 1 disturbance includes the passenger receiving a verbal warning because of a disturbance. It is the lowest level of the three levels of passenger disturbance.
Portland station KATU reports that the flight with 231 people aboard left Wednesday morning, but got turned around about 90 minutes later and headed back.
Since 9/11, the world has changed.
When flying, passengers take upon themselves certain obligations; one of which is to listen and obey the requests of the flight crew (attendants and pilots) regarding the stowing of personal belongings. By refusing to obey the commands of the flight crew one risks being labeled disruptive, and the pilot has the discretion and obligation to take measures to insure the safety of the passengers and plane including the declaration of an emergency resulting in the plane being diverted from its normal flight plan to the nearest available airport.
The safety of a perfectly normal flight may suddenly be in jeopardy because of possible violence or harassment from a passenger. In light of 9/11 and a recent event that occurred on board an airliner where a passenger/terrorist attempted to set off an explosive device on board an airliner, flight crews are instructed to scrutinize any distubance as a possible link to terrorism.
Accordingly, when on board a jet, be aware of your surroundings. Listen and follow the instructions of the flight crew particularly regarding the stowing of personal items. Report any suspicious activity immediately to the flight crew. Be prepared to take action if someone is engaged in jeopardizing the safety of the plane and passengers.
CONTACT INFORMATION: If you or a family member have been injured or damaged due to the fault or responsibility of someone else, an industrial accident or by a dangerous or defective product, drug or toxic substance, contact Alan Morton for a no obligation, free consultation.
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Alan L. Morton
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