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Kona Man Faces Prison Time for Hijacking Hoax

June 13, 2013, 7:48 PM HST
* Updated June 14, 11:36 AM
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A Kona man faces up to five years in federal prison as a result of his involvement in a hijacking hoax that forced an Air Force escort and an early landing for an Alaska-bound commercial flight.

Timothy David Hershman, 58, entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Honolulu in connection with the incident that occurred early this year.

Department of Justice officials said that Hershman admitted calling the FBI on Jan. 17 and identifying a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight as someone who intended to hijack the aircraft.

They said Hershman told the FBI that the passenger was a “dangerous man,” and said that the agency should “help prevent a tragedy.”

After determining that the man Hershman named was on the flight, two F-15 fighter jets were scrambled from an Air Force base in Portland to escort the plane into Sea-Tac airport.

The passenger told authorities there he knew nothing about a hijacking.

The FBI’s investigation led them to Hershman, who confessed to the hoax.

According to Justice officials, Hershman said he placed the call because the man had allegedly placed fish guts in Hershman’s truck.

Hershman, a retired carpenter, also faces a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Oct. 5 before US District Judge J. Michael Seabright.

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