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Teenager takes controls of a commercial flight between Alaska communities, the police says

A Piper Cherokee Six aircraft similar to what was used during the chaotic Alaska flight.
(Photo by Erwin Falk/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

An Alaska teenager sitting in the passenger seat of a small airplane briefly took over the aircraft controls during a short commercial flight, making the aircraft in a moment go down in the direction of the ground, police said.

The 16-year-old boy was arrested last week. He was on a recent Yute Living Service-flight from Napakiak to Bethel, KYUK-AM reported.

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The chaos began when the teenager took control the plane shortly after takeoff, causing the aircraft to enter a steep climb and then a dive to the ground,” Alaska State Troopers said. A woman who sat behind the teen, grabbed him by his collar and pulled him away from the checks, police said.

As soon as the plane stabilized, the aircraft back to Napakiak. The flight between the two small communities usually takes about four minutes.

After the aircraft has landed, the teen managed to slip away before the authorities were able to take hold of him. He was arrested the following day in Beth-el, located just north of Napakiak.

The Piper Cherokee Six – the model that is used in the flight that had three other people – do not have a mechanism to lock passenger flight controls, the airline of the business manager Keith Henthorn said. He said that the airline still allows passengers to sit in the front of the plane, according to KYUK-AM.

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The teen’s name was not released because he is a minor. However, interfering with the duties of a crew is considered to be a crime.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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