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One thing after another. Gruesome ‘crime scene’ photo, pepper spray disrupt Maui flight

A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Oakland, California, to Maui on Friday was delayed by a mock crime scene photo sent by a teen to her mother. Later, someone accidentally discharged peppery spray aboard.
A Hawaiian Airlines flight from Oakland, California, to Maui on Friday was delayed by a mock crime scene photo sent by a teen to her mother. Later, someone accidentally discharged peppery spray aboard. The Associated Press file

Passengers aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui on Friday had a tumultuous trip, according to Maui Now.

The airline’s Flight 23 first was delayed on takeoff at 7 a.m. from Oakland, California, by a misunderstanding over a mock crime scene photo of a mannequin sent by a 15-year-old girl aboard the plane to her mother, also a passenger, reported KGO.

The girl sent the “grisly” mock photo from a medical biology class via AirDrop, a file-sharing service, which also accidentally delivered the picture to 15 other passengers aboard as the plane taxied for takeoff, reported The Mercury News.

“Passengers viewed that picture, believed that picture was threatening, alerted the flight crew who in turn notified the pilot,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, according to the station. The pilot returned the plane to the terminal.

Police removed the “very embarrassed” teenage girl and her mother from the flight, which took off 90 minutes late, KGO reported. They were booked onto a Saturday flight.

“It doesn’t look real but certainly I understand why people alerted the folks on the plane,” said traveler Rovianne Leigh, according to the station.

About three hours into the flight, a pepper spray canister illegally brought aboard by a passenger discharged, sickening 12 passengers and three flight attendants, reported Hawaii News Now.

“I was woken up by someone having a coughing fit,” passenger Nicholas Andrade told The Mercury News. “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.”

People in the front of the cabin spent about 40 minutes standing in the rear of the plane while the air cleared, reported Hawaii News Now. The pilot declared an emergency and firefighters assisted people affected by the spray on landing at Kahului Airport in Maui.

“First class and premium section passengers all started to cough and the flight attendants could barely see or talk,” passenger Kevin Olson told Hawaii News Now.

Transportation Security Administration investigators and Maui police are looking into the incident, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The Mercury News, adding the fine for bringing pepper spray onto an airplane can exceed $1,960.

The Boeing 767 carried 256 passengers and 10 crew members, reported The Mercury News.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconveniences aboard HA23, and are providing all passengers a $500 travel credit,” airline spokesperson Alex Da Silva told Maui Now.

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