Fighter jets escort plane to Sea-Tac after hijack threat

Fighter jets escort plane to Sea-Tac after hijack threat
SEATTLE -- A pair of Oregon-based fighter jets escorted an Alaska Airlines flight into Sea-Tac Airport Thursday night after the FBI got word of a potential hijack threat on board.

The two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled from the Oregon Air National Guard base in Portland and escorted the plane -- which originated in Kona, Hawaii -- the rest of the way to Sea-Tac, according to Alaska Air officials.

Honolulu-based FBI special agent Tom Simon said agents received an anonymous call Thursday evening warning that a man on the flight was a hijacker. Agents alerted the flight crew, who watched the man, but did not attempt to subdue him. The man was not acting suspiciously and, in fact, slept the majority of the flight, according to Alaska Air officials.

The plane landed at 7:12 p.m. -- 3 minutes early -- and one passenger was taken into custody.

Sea-Tac representative Perry Cooper said the FBI notified the Port of Seattle about a situation on flight 819 while the plane was airborne. Once it was safely on the tarmac, Port of Seattle Police boarded the plane from the rear and detained the passenger. All other passengers deplaned without incident.

Port of Seattle officers turned the man over to the FBI for questioning. Simon said the man is cooperating with FBI agents and has nothing in his history that would lead law enforcement to believe he is associated with any terrorist groups.

Ayn Dietrich with FBI in Seattle said there is no indication of a credible threat, but Simon said the investigation is in its early stages.

"If this this turns out to be a hoax, and I think it's premature to characterize it as that, I can promise you that the FBI in Honolulu is going to investigate that, because that's just not something we will stand for," he said.

Dietrich said agents finished interviewing the passenger sometime Thursday night and were no longer detaining him.