What should have been a quick trip to paradise turned into a nightmare for 256 passengers this week.
A Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Maui was first delayed because a teenager accidentally sent a disturbing photo of a fake crime scene through iPhone’s AirDrop feature.
The flight, which took off from Oakland International Airport on Friday, then had to make an emergency landing after an illegal pepper spray canister discharged.
Twelve passengers and three flight attendants were treated after pepper spray was released into the air, sickening many in both first class and premium economy class.
The problems for Hawaiian Airlines Flight 23 all began just before take-off at 7am.
Fifteen passengers received a photo of a mock crime scene, with a ‘child-sized’ mannequin made out of nylon bean bag lying face-down on the ground.
The passengers were disturbed by the photo and believed it was threatening, so they alerted the flight crew who in turn notified the pilot.
Hawaiian Airlines contacted the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to investigate what was deemed to be a potential security threat, according to KGO.
But they soon discovered the culprit was one very embarrassed 15-year-old girl trying to send a photo from a science project to her mother.
The girl had used AirDrop via Bluetooth on her phone to send the photo, not knowing it would give those around her the option of accepting and viewing the picture as well.
‘The young girl was very embarrassed,’ said Sgt Ray Kelly. ‘She was upset. We explained to her she was not in trouble, there was no crime that was committed here.
‘She had a good heart, she didn’t want to inconvenience all those people.’
Hawaiian Airlines decided to re-book the teenager and her family on a later flight while the picture was investigated.
After an hour-and-a-half delay, the plane finally took off for Hawaii. But the problems didn’t stop there.
About three hours into the flight, multiple passengers seated in first class and premium class started intensely coughing.
‘I was woken up by someone having a coughing fit,’ passenger Nicholas Andrade told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
‘But what I came to find out is that it wasn’t one person coughing, it was many people coughing.’
‘And then everyone was coughing and then we were coughing. And the flight attendants were covering their faces and passengers started covering their faces.’
Passengers were ‘panicked’ and ‘afraid’ as they struggled to breathe.