A 15-year-old girl shared a photo of a gruesome mock crime scene from her medical-biology classes, sending it to whom she believed to be her mom. However, as it turns out, she accidentally shared it with other passengers on the same flight.
This caused the plane, traveling from Oakland, California, to Maui, Hawaii, to be delayed by more than 90 minutes
Hawaiian Airlines Flight 23 was supposed to take off that morning, but then more than a dozen passengers received the photo of what appeared to be a dead child face down in the middle of a crime scene. Not knowing it was a part of a school assignment and therefore not real, members of the airlines showed the images to the pilot, who decided to return to the gate.
Alameda County Sgt. Ray Kelly described the incident:
She was telling her mom about the class, and her mom supposedly just got a new iPhone. People were a little alarmed by it.
Both the girl and the mother were questioned by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. She was mortified, crying, and officers had to "console her a little bit — it was OK, it was a mistake." Both women were removed from the plane and rebooked on a different flight that weekend.
Kelly reported that the incident was more of an inconvenience than anything.
Officers determined there was no crime or malicious intent:
Obviously, it inconvenienced some folks. All in all everybody did everything right... The passengers did the right thing by alerting the flight crew, and the flight crew did the right thing by trying to figure out if there was a valid threat or not.
The flight eventually took off but the drama wasn't over. One passenger had smuggled a 1.5-ounce bottle of pepper spray onto the plane and it somehow released its contents as the plane crossed over the Pacific Ocean. People began to cough as the pepper spray filled the entire front portion of the cabin.
Nicholas Andrade and his fiancé, Lisa Sakimura, awoke from a nap only to breathe it in:
Everyone was coughing and then we were coughing, and the flight attendants were covering their faces.
Sakimura described the ordeal as being trapped:
I’m worried. People are yelling for help. I feel trapped on a plane over the Pacific Ocean with diminishing amounts of air.
Passengers began to wonder if the two incidents were related. Sakimura said people thought the photo of the fake crime scene and the "mysterious poison that was coming from first class is linked and it’s a terror attack." Kelly confirmed this was not the case, and the two were isolated, unrelated incidents.
More than 40 people gathered in the back of the airplane, where the fumes weren't as bad.
The flight received a prioritized landing after declaring emergency on-board. Once it landed at Kahului Airport in Maui, a dozen passengers and three flight attendants were treated for respiratory issues. Meanwhile, a representative for Hawaiian Airlines reported that they would be investigating alongside officials.
Hawaiian Airlines released a statement and is compensating passengers with $500 travel credits for the inconvenience, delays, and, for some, respiratory damages:
Some are wondering how the teenage girl misused the airdrop feature.
Considering it was sent from a random person with no explanation, some are responding and saying it caused a delay because the other passengers believed it to be some sort of threat.
Even more people are curious as to how someone snuck pepper spray through security and onto a flight.
One four-ounce can of pepper spray is permitted in checked luggage but is prohibited in carry-on bags.
Next time you consider complaining about a middle seat or a screaming child...think again.
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