BETHEL, Alaska — A 16-year-old boy was arrested after he briefly took control of a small plane during a short commercial flight over western Alaska, authorities said.
The teen was in the front passenger seat of the Piper Cherokee Six on a recent Yute Commuter Service flight from Napakiak to Bethel, KYUK-AM reported last week.
The flight between the two remote communities usually takes about four minutes.
The teen grabbed the aircraft controls shortly after takeoff, causing the “plane to enter a steep climb and then a dive toward the ground,” Alaska State Troopers said.
A woman sitting behind the teen grabbed him around the neck, pulling him away from the controls, authorities said. The pilot stabilized the aircraft and returned to Napakiak.
An agent for the regional airline contacted the village public safety officer to detain the teen. He slipped away before the officer could take him into custody, but was arrested the next day in Bethel.
Authorities have not released the teen’s name because he is a minor. Interfering with the duties of a flight crew is a federal offence.
The aircraft model used in this flight does not have a mechanism to lock out passenger flight controls, said Keith Henthorn, the airline’s business manager.
The airline will continue to allow passengers to sit in the front seat, he said.