SEATTLE – NORAD scrambled fighter jets from Portland to escort an Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle after receiving a threat of a hijacking Thursday night. The threat turned out to be an apparent hoax.
The plane was flying in from Kona, Hawaii when the FBI received a call at its Honolulu field office, suggesting a threat to Alaska Airlines Flight 819. The caller indicated a man on board was going to hijack the plane, said Agent Tom Simon.
NORAD scrambled two F-15s at about 6:15 p.m. as it approached the Oregon coast. The 737 was escorted until it landed at Sea-Tac at about 7 p.m.
The identified man was closely watched during the flight. An Alaska Airlines spokesperson said the man actually slept most of the time and showed no signs of odd behavior.
When the plane landed he was escorted off and questioned. The FBI said the man was not expected to be arrested.
Port of Seattle police K9 units searched the plane and nothing was found. FBI officials said there was no danger at Sea-Tac Airport.
Passengers said they were unaware that fighter jets were escorting the plane.
"As we got off, I noticed TSA and policemen at the gate," said passenger Woody Gardiner. "Nothing was unusual. Nothing was out of the ordinary.”
"The flight crew was calm and attentive and never showed a sign of anything wrong at all," said passenger Victoria Southland.
The FBI is continuing the investigation.