Naked passenger sends Alaska Airlines flight back to Anchorage
An Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Seattle was diverted back to Anchorage early Wednesday due to a naked passenger on board the jet, airport police said.
Airport Police and Fire Sgt. Darcey Perry said officers responded at about 3 a.m. to Flight 146, which had taken off but returned to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
“There was a subject on the aircraft that had barricaded or locked himself in the bathroom, the lavatory,” Perry said. “Flight attendants did find that the subject was naked.”
Chloe Martin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder, said Thursday that no charges have been filed so far in the incident.
"The suspect was transported by the Anchorage airport police to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation," Martin said. "Beyond that, no determination has been made as to whether charges will be brought."
A flight status page on Alaska’s website said the jet had been scheduled to take off at 1:25 a.m., but ultimately left on its scheduled flight at 6:37 a.m. A flight-status track of its initial trip posted on FlightAware.com showed the plane turning back to Anchorage near Prince William Sound.
Manuel Frederick and Andrew Tisba, founders of a worldwide movement for peace, who met Tuesday with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, said they were on the diverted flight.
FBI agents responded to the airport and spoke with the naked passenger, Perry said, but it wasn’t clear whether he was arrested. The Boeing 737’s flight crew and other passengers who witnessed part of the incident were also interviewed.
Alaska Airlines spokesman Tim Thompson confirmed Flight 146's delayed second takeoff, saying in an email that the plane was carrying 178 passengers when it turned around "due to a passenger not following flight attendants' instructions."
"While no emergency was declared, pilots made the decision to return to Anchorage," Thompson wrote. "Flight 146 arrived at Anchorage International around 2:45 a.m. and was met by law enforcement officers at the gate. The passenger was escorted off the flight by officers."
Frederick and Tisba said Thursday that Alaska Airlines had offered them a $150 flight credit due to the diverted flight.
Word also broke this week that a former Alaska Airlines pilot plans a guilty plea on a charge of flying drunk during some of the airline's California flights.
Last month, a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Hong Kong was diverted to Anchorage due to a passenger reportedly smearing feces in the bathroom.
Scott Jensen and Liz Raines contributed information to this story.
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