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2 US Fighter Jets Scramble to Escort Hawaii-bound Plane

In this photo taken from video provided by Hawaii News Now, a man who was detained on an American Airlines flight is driven away from the plane after landing in Honolulu, May 19, 2017. Federal agents met the plane from Los Angeles when it landed in Honolulu and took the man into custody.

U.S. military fighter jets scrambled to escort a Hawaii-bound American Airlines plane after a man allegedly tried to enter the cockpit Friday.

Pacific Command spokesman Navy Commander Dave Benham told VOA via email Friday that two F-22 Raptors from the Hawaii National Guard were called to respond to a reported disturbance on the commercial aircraft as it was approaching Honolulu International Airport.

“The F-22s escorted the airliner to the airport in accordance with homeland defense procedures,” Benham said. “Local law enforcement responded once the civilian airliner was on the ground.”

The airline told local media the plane, an Airbus A321, landed safety at Honolulu International Airport at 11:35 a.m. local time. The flight originated from Los Angeles International Airport.

According to two eyewitnesses, the man who caused the disruption did not make it to the cockpit door.

Instead, they said, he was stopped by a flight attendant who had jammed her serving cart in the doorway that separates first class from coach.

One of the witnesses said other passengers grabbed the man, identified by law enforcement officials as Anil Uskanil, 25, of Turkey, and duct-taped him to his seat until the plane landed in Honolulu and federal agents arrested him.

Police say Uskanil had been drinking but didn’t meet the criteria for public drunkenness. He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, given a date to appear in court and allowed to take the flight to Honolulu.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.