Passenger who interrupted Maui-bound flight will face - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Passenger who interrupted Maui-bound flight will face criminal charges

Joseph Hedlund Johnson Joseph Hedlund Johnson

PORTLAND, OR (HawaiiNewsNow) – The US Attorney's Office in Portland announced Friday it will file criminal charges against an Oregon man who caused a disturbance on a Hawaiian Airlines flight Wednesday. Authorities say that 56-year-old Joseph Hedlund Johnson of Salem, Oregon passed a note to a flight attendant that contained threatening language. The threat was considered so serious that the aircraft was turned around on its flight from Portland to Kahului, Maui.

In the complaint filed against Johnson, authorities say that he originally became upset when he was not allowed to stow a carry-on bag under his seat. A short time later Johnson allegedly passed a note to a flight attendant that contained the following language: "I thought I was going to die," "I hope we don't crash and burn," and "what if the plane ripped apart in mid-flight and we plumited to earth…". The note was passed to the captain, who then locked the flight deck, after consulting the crew, declared an emergency and decided to turn the plane about one-and-a-half hours into the flight.

Johnson will face charges of interference with the performance and duties of a flight crew

member or attendant. He is expected to surrender to authorities on Monday. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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