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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. Law enforcement and TSA are questioning the passenger in question.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Hawaiian Airlines flight that was diverted to Portland International Airport because of a "passenger disturbance" is heading back to Maui.
Two F-15 jets were sent to intercept the plane at about 1:30 p.m., according to the Oregon Air National Guard. The plane was in the air for about two hours when it turned around, said Keoni Wagner, a Hawaiian Airlines official.
Wagner said there was a "passenger disturbance" on the flight.
The flight's captain returned to Portland because of a suspicious passenger who made threatening remarks and refused to stow his carry-on bag, Transportation Security Administration officials said.
The passenger in question is being interviewed.
The plane landed safely and Port of Portland police are now investigating. It refueled and took off again just before 3 p.m.
Two passengers seated next to each other were removed from the plane after it landed in Portland, according to a passenger on the flight. The removed passengers' carry-on luggage and checked baggage were also removed, the witness said.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight 39 departed from Portland and was headed to Kahului Airport in Maui, said Alan Kinitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration official.
There are 231 passengers and 15 crew members on the Boeing 767 aircraft, Wagner said.
Originally posted by Aggie Man
Maybe this is a dumb question, but...
When there is a "disturbance" on a plane, why do they divert the plane back to it's point of origin? Is a potential bomb any safer in Portland than in Maui?
Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by Aggie Man
Wow that is a short flight? Isn't it 10 hours from Denver to Honolulu? I bought that ticket once, and I could have sworn it was 10 hours? Surely Portland isn't 4 hours closer than Denver?
About 45 minutes into the flight, Johnson gave a comment card in a sealed envelope to a flight attendant, who opened it, read it and gave it to the lead flight attendant, who then gave it to the captain, it said.
"I thought I was going to die, we were so high up," the card said. "I thought to myself: I hope we don't crash and burn or worse yet landing in the ocean, living through it, only to be eaten by sharks, or worse yet, end up on some place like Gilligan's Island, stranded, or worse yet, be eaten by a tribe of headhunters, speaking of headhunters, why do they just eat outsiders, and not the family members? Strange ... and what if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited (sic) to earth, landed on Gilligan's Island and then lived through it, and the only woman there was Mrs. Thurston Howell III? No Mary Anne (my favorite) no Ginger, just Lovey! If it were just her, I think I'd opt for the sharks, maybe the headhunters."
"Johnson stated that he didn't think anyone would open it during the flight," the affidavit added. "He told me that he thought the card was going to be taken back to an office somewhere, opened, and everyone in the room would 'get a laugh' from it, and that perhaps he'd even get some frequent flyer miles out of it. Johnson stated he didn't intend to scare anyone and he would not have written his name on the card if it was a threat. Johnson stated that he felt bad about what had happened and that he was sorry."