HONOLULU – A can of pepper spray went up in a plane on the way from Oakland, California, to Maui on Friday, a urgent help for different people on board, Hawaiian Airlines said.
Twelve passengers and three flight attendants were treated for respiratory problems and released by the emergency services at the airport in Kahului, Maui, airline spokesman Alex Da Silva said.
A passenger illegally brought the pepper spray on the plane with 256 passengers and 10 crew members, but it turns out that it accidentally discharged, Da Silva said in a statement. The airline can not provide data about the passenger, or why they believe the release was accidental.
The flight crew of the Boeing 767 declared an emergency to get priority at the airport in Hawaii.
About 30 people complained of being affected by the disorder, but no one was taken to the hospital, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said.
The airline said that the flight was delayed earlier Friday after a teenager in Oakland sent a picture of a fake crime scene “with a child-sized mannequin” to the other passengers’ mobile phones. The teenager and his family were booked for a later flight, while the officers investigated.
Hawaiian Airlines said that the two incidents were not related and the family’s luggage had to be located and removed from the aircraft, causing the delay.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement via e-mail that it could not confirm what the substance was, but that pepper spray is prohibited on the aircraft. The agency can take legal action against anyone who, in violation of federal aviation regulations.
Officials with the Transportation Security Administration, which screens the hand baggage, and the National Transportation Safety Board not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Oakland International Airport referred questions to Hawaiian Airlines.