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Fighter Jets Scrambled to Escort Seattle-Bound Flight after Caller Reports Sleeping Passenger as a Hijacker

Two military jets escorted an Alaska Airlines  flight into Seattle last night after a caller told the FBI that a possible  hijacker was aboard the flight from Hawaii, officials said.

After the jet landed safely, authorities  took the male passenger off the plane and questioned him for about two  hours.

FBI Seattle spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said  late Thursday night that the agency was ‘not anticipating an arrest.’ The man  was not identified.

Law enforcement officers had been  waiting  for the  passenger after Oregon Air National Guard F-15 jets  escorted the  aircraft, which landed about 7pm PST, airline spokesman  Paul McElroy  said.

An unidentified caller told the Honolulu FBI  office on Thursday afternoon that a man aboard Alaska Flight 819 from Kona to  Seattle was a possible hijacker, said FBI spokesman Tom Simon in  Honolulu.

Officers boarded the jet through rear stairs  in Seattle and removed the man from the plane, McElroy said.

The passenger had been seated at the back of  the aircraft and ‘slept most of the flight,’ he added.

Seattle FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich  described the man as cooperative and said agents were interviewing him Thursday  night.

She said there didn’t appear to be any  imminent public safety threat.

‘We’re  talking with the individual,’ she said. ‘We continue to gather observations and  physical evidence.’

‘I can tell you any threats or tips we  receive we take seriously in case they’re a credible threat,’ she said. ‘We  certainly get a number of calls that turn out to be not credible.’

The flight crew was aware of the threat but  reported no unusual behavior, McElroy said, adding law enforcement made the  decision to scramble the military jets.

Passengers deplaned normally after the man  was removed.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport  spokesman Perry Cooper said airport K-9 dogs then checked the plane but found  nothing amiss.

Simon declined to provide any details  about  the caller who alerted the FBI. He noted that making a false  statement to the  FBI is a crime.

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Posted by on January 18, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.