Friday 11 March 2022

10 Year Old delays Alaska Airlines arrival with hijacking threat

An Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Orlando was held up last Sunday evening due to an incident with a 10-year-old prankster. Authorities have said that the 10-year-old boy had AirDropped a message about hijacking the plane to another passenger, who alerted a crew member. Speaking to WKMG, an unnamed passenger explained:

"We’re taxiing in and all of a sudden the plane gets interrupted with a peculiar notice that we’re going to park on an active runway for a moment. After that, they said there was a threat to the plane and that we are not going to be approaching any terminal for any time soon.”

Armed police were dispatched to clear the situation. The plane was left parked away from the terminal for over an hour before clearance was given for the flight to continue to its gate. Another passenger has said:

"We were looking (up and down the plane) for the perps, but we’re not seeing any. Our concern was that it was a bomb threat because they kept us far from any terminals.”

The threat was quickly determined as not credible. Police cleared passengers one by one before the family of the prankster was escorted off the plane. Passenger Ryan Ruitt described the parent’s reaction to police:

“As soon as they got up, it was, like, the saddest thing. The mood just switched because the mom was crying and was, like, ‘I’m so sorry everybody. I’m so sorry.”

The minimum age for federal aviation crimes is 11 years old, so no charges have been filed.
Alaska Airlines released a statement on the incident:

"After Alaska Airlines flight 16 from Seattle landed in Orlando, it parked remotely because of a potential threat that was later deemed non-credible. Police boarded and cleared the aircraft. The plane continued to its gate and passengers deplaned as normal," they said. "We take safety seriously and we apologize for the inconvenience for our guests."

AirDrop issues

This week’s incident was not the first of its type, with a similar one taking place in San Francisco back in July 2021. United Airlines Flight 2617, also to Orlando, was deboarded after a teenager airdropped an image of an airsoft gun to other passengers. Police determined that the photo had been taken at an earlier date, and they did not have the toy firearm with them.

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