US flight hijacker tip unfounded

Last updated 00:45 19/01/2013

Relevant offers

Americas

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders make all-out blitz in California primary Teen defies parents to secretly take his boyfriend to prom winning the internet Watch: 'Chewbacca Mom', James Corden and JJ Abrams are happy Chewbaccas Judge finds enough evidence for Bill Cosby to go to trial on sex assault Two FBI agents shot while serving warrant near Chicago Bernie Sanders: Democratic convention could be 'messy' US parents receive mysterious letter claiming knowledge about their son's 1977 disappearance Donald Trump proposes 3.2km long wall to protect his Irish golf resort from rising seas Freddie Gray case: Baltimore police officer Edward Nero not guilty of all charges US Supreme Court rules for black Georgia death row inmate

Two US fighter jets were scrambled to escort a commercial airliner to Seattle after the FBI received an anonymous tip, apparently unfounded, that a hijacker was aboard, officials said.

The plane, which originated in Hawaii, landed safely at about 7 pm local time at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where it was met by local law enforcement and FBI agents who interviewed the passenger in question, authorities said.

The security scare appeared to be a false alarm, and possibly a hoax, said Tom Simon, an FBI special agent in Honolulu, where the anonymous call was received.

"The passenger did not do anything wrong on the flight. It was a totally benign, normal, trans-Pacific flight," he said.

He said the passenger, identified by name by the individual who called the FBI, was cooperating with authorities. There were no immediate arrests.

"If he turns out to be a bad guy," the FBI in Seattle will pursue the case, Simon said. "If this turns out to be a prank phone call, the Honolulu FBI may choose to investigate that hoax phone call as a crime."

He said the anonymous call came at about the time the Alaska Airlines jet, Flight 819, was taking off from Kona airport on the Big Island of Hawaii en route to Seattle.

As a precaution, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a joint US-Canadian operation, scrambled two F-15 fighters from the Oregon Air National Guard. The military jets encountered the Alaska Airlines plane just off the coast of Oregon over the Pacific, NORAD spokesman Al Blondin said.

The fighter jets stayed with the commercial airliner for the remainder of its flight, said Blondin, speaking from NORAD's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content