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Crime scene pic and peppery blast hit flight to Hawaii

September 4, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A Hawaiian Airlines flight, initially delayed by a bizarre incident in which passengers received a creepy photo of a fake crime scene on their mobile phones, was later hit in mid-flight by the sudden accidental discharge of a can of pepper spray, temporarily incapacitating about 30 people, including flight attendants and passengers.

As they prepared for takeoff from Oakland, California, passengers aboard flight HA-23  to Maui in Hawaii suddenly received on their phones a scary photo showing a child-size mannequin laid out in the manner of a police murder investigation.

The picture actually showed a mock-up for a school bio-medical class and was sent by a teenage student on the flight to their mother seated nearby. The student used AirDrop, an Apple function that lets a user instantly share photos, videos, or other files to Apple devices in close proximity. As KHON2 television channel in Honolulu explained later, it somehow led to other passengers receiving the photo.

Reaction to the weird pic delayed takeoff while the teenager and family were removed and investigated. Once the incident was found to be a harmless mistake, they were rebooked on a later flight.

Flight HA-23, carrying 256 passengers and 10 crew, then took off and proceeded normally – until fits of coughing broke out. A can of pepper spray had gone off. Police use pepper spray like tear gas, for riot control. It’s also used for personal defence against dogs, bears, muggers, maniacs and rapists – preferably not all at once. Pepper spray has no place on an aircraft, which is why it is banned.

Hawaiian Airlines confirmed that several people aboard required emergency help. In a statement carried by US media, Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Alex Da Silva said 12 passengers and three flight attendants were treated for respiratory problems.

Da Silva said a passenger brought the pepper spray aboard. The release appears to have been accidental. Everyone recovered and nobody required hospital treatment.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating. So is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is responsible for screening carry-on luggage to ensure items like pepper spray are not taken on planes.

Written by Peter Needham

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