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Kona Man Indicted in Jan. 17 Airplane Hijacking Hoax

February 21, 2013, 9:16 AM HST
* Updated February 21, 9:26 AM
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A federal grand jury on Oahu has indicted a 58-year-old Kona man in connection with last month’s hijacking hoax that resulted in an Alaska Air flight from Kona being escorted into Seattle by US military jets.

The indictment handed down on Wednesday charges Timothy David Hershman with exerting control of an aircraft through the use of force, threats or false information. The crime is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.

FBI spokesman Tom Simon said Wednesday night that an arrest warrant had not been issued. The US District Court in Honolulu is expected to issue a summons for Hershman to appear there.

The incident began when the Honolulu office of the FBI received a telephone call saying that one of the passengers on the Jan. 17 flight was going to hijack the aircraft.

Flight 819 was intercepted by two F-15 jets from the Oregon National Guard. The plane landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport without incident.

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The flight was met by FBI agents and an individual apparently named in the threat was taken off the aircraft, interviewed and released.

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Alaska Airlines officials said the individual slept through most of the flight and nothing unusual happened onboard, NBC News reported.

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