F-15s escort flight to Sea-Tac for apparent hijacker hoax

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SEATTLE - An Alaska Airlines flight was escorted into Sea-Tac Airport by two F-15 fighter jets after the FBI received a call about a hijacker on the plane that appears to be a hoax.

 

 The FBI in Honolulu told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News that it received a tip that a hijacker may be on board flight 819 from Kona, Hawaii.  Tom Simon with FBI Honolulu said the caller identified the person by name and agents determined the man was on the plane.

 

The FBI then alerted Alaska Airlines and authorities in Seattle, and two fighter jets from the Oregon National Guard in Portland escorted the plane into Sea-Tac.

 

Alaska Airlines officials said the man who was identified by the caller slept through most of the flight.

 

Once the plane landed, Seattle FBI agents, Port of Seattle police and TSA agents boarded the Boeing 737 and escorted the man off the plane.

 

Ayn Dietrich from the Seattle FBI office said the man was interviewed at the airport then cleared by authorities and released.  Dietrich said there was no threat to public safety.

 

Agents said they are investigating the telephone tip they received about the passenger.

 

Simon said the caller could be in violation of Title 18, making a false report to the FBI.

 

Penalties for the violation include stiff fines and up to five years in prison.