A pepper spray incident on an Oakland-to-Kahului flight was by accident, Hawaiian Airlines said Friday.
A dozen passengers and three flight attendants medical care Friday after a pepper spray was in the cab of a Hawaiian Airlines plane, the airline said.
Those affected were treated for respiratory problems after the plane landed in Kahului, Maui, at around 10:30 p.m. local time, a spokesman for the airline said.
The airline said a passenger was illegally brought pepper spray aboard the flight, which originated in Oakland, California. It can be discharged about three hours into the flight, the spokesman said.
Airline officials said that the incident was accidental.
#BREAKING: Law enforcement sources tell Hawaii News Now that the air is irritating to board a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui this morning was probably a pepper spray-like substance. Details: https://t.co/1QT3JtbJpO pic.twitter.com/FcwcOMDNVd
— Hawaii News Now (@HawaiiNewsNow): August 31, 2018
Passengers in the front cabin had their seats for more than a half-hour, Hawaii News Now reported, quoting Hawaiian Airlines and passengers. A baby, according to a passenger quoted by the news outlet.
The crew and passengers to gather in a back galley on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Oakland, California, to Kahului, Maui, after a can of pepper spray went off in the plane, in Aug. 31, 2018.
“To clarify, I was in the appropriate section. In the first class and premiere department were affected, we were in premiere. First class got hit the hardest. It is a wild day,” wrote one Twitter user.
To clarify, I was in the appropriate section. In the first class and premiere department were affected, we were in premiere. First class got hit the hardest. It is a wild day.
— Lisa Sakimura (@lbsakimura) of 31 August 2018
“Worse. We had some crazy chemical in the front of the plane with 2.5 hr to the left”, wrote another user. “Everyone around us started coughing, eyes burning, etc. The captain has everyone stand in the back for almost an hour. @HawaiianAir had a 26year old plane, too!”
Worse. We had some crazy chemical in the front of the plane with 2.5 hr left. Everyone around us started coughing, eyes burning, etc. The captain has everyone stand in the back for almost an hour. @HawaiianAir had a 26year old plane, too!
— Jason Tolkin (@jtolks) of 31 August 2018
The flight crew of the Boeing 767, which was carrying 256 passengers and 10 crew, declared an emergency to get priority landing at the airport in Hawaii.
The Federal Aviation Administration could not confirm what substance was put on the plane, but acknowledged that pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage.
A fire truck is seen outside of a Hawaiian Airlines jet in Kahului, Maui, after a can of pepper spray went up in the plane during a flight from Oakland, California, Aug. 31, 2018.
The incident is being investigated by the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Maui police. The person responsible for bringing the pepper spray on board could face civil penalties of up to $13,000, Hawaii News Now reported.
No additional details were provided.
Earlier Friday, the same flight was delayed after a teenage girl from Oakland and sent a picture of a fake crime scene “with a child-sized mannequin” to the other passengers’ mobile phones, the East Bay Times reported.
The photo of a mannequin that was sent to various iOS devices on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Oakland to Maui on Friday morning that forced three passengers to be removed from the aircraft. (Photo: Alameida County Sheriffs) https://t.co/1QT3JtbJpO pic.twitter.com/fFlcoxOQWJ
— Hawaii News Now (@HawaiiNewsNow) September 1, 2018
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, which has caused the delay.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.