Anvik man arrested after allegedly opening airplane cargo door during flight
A 40-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after Alaska State Troopers say he opened the rear cargo door on a Ryan Air passenger flight while in the air between Aniak and Anvik.
In an online dispatch, troopers stated they received a report Tuesday from the airline that passenger Calvin Chase, of Anvik, had removed his seat belt during the flight and opened the door. Other passengers then subdued Chase, the dispatch reads, until the pilot could return to Aniak.
Lee Ryan, president of Ryan Air, confirmed the account via email late Thursday. Ryan said, unlike the dispatch, the pilot's landing was "precautionary" rather than an emergency.
"Safety is our highest priority," he said. "Our pilot relied on their training procedures and returned to the nearest airport as quickly as possible and made a safe landing."
The Cessna 207 was scheduled to fly from Aniak to Anvik, then to Grayling and back to Aniak, Ryan wrote.
"The flight departed Aniak at 3:30 local and returned for the precautionary landing at Aniak at 3:58 local," he said. "The passenger allegedly opened a door within 12-15 minutes after departure from Aniak and the flight crew returned to the nearest suitable runway, Aniak."
Ryan said there were no injuries and no damage to the plane. He couldn't comment on what led up to the incident but said the company was relieved the crew and passengers were safe.
The incident in under investigation. After the plane landed, Chase was arrested and charged with second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree assault. He is currently being held at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center in Bethel.
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