OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A Hawaii-bound flight was delayed more than an hour Friday morning at Oakland International Airport when grisly crime-scene photos from a teenage passenger’s forensics science project were accidentally shared to the phones of other passengers, causing alarm, authorities said.
At about 7 a.m., as Hawaiian Airlines Flight 23 pulled away from the gate and moved toward the runway, a 16-year-old passenger seated with her mother tried to send the photos to her mom’s cellphone, Sgt. Ray Kelly, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said.
“It was her mom’s first day with an iPhone and they were trying to use the AirDrop feature to share the photos with each other but the photos accidentally went to at least 15 other passengers,” Kelly said.
Alarmed travelers alerted the flight crew, who contacted the pilot, who decided to return the plane to the gate. Sheriff’s deputies met the plane and interviewed the teenager and her mother, soon discovering it was an accidental photo share, Kelly said.
“The other passengers were vigilant and did the right thing by reporting something that looked pretty bad,” Kelly said. “Fortunately it turned out to be nothing more than a mistake.”
The flight eventually lifted off at about 8:30 a.m., but without the teen and her mother.
In a statement from Hawaiian Airlines, a spokesperson said, “In order to resume the flight and minimize the inconvenience to our guests, the teenager and family were re-booked on a later flight while the incident was investigated.”
In an incident unrelated to the photos, 15 people on the flight had to be treated for breathing problems after the plane landed in Maui after a can of pepper spray went off in the cabin.
Twelve passengers and three flight attendants were treated for respiratory issues and released by emergency responders at the airport in Kahului, Hawaii, airline spokesman Alex Da Silva said.
A passenger illegally brought the pepper spray on the plane carrying 256 passengers and 10 crew members but it appears it discharged accidentally, Da Silva said in a statement. The airline could not provide any details about the passenger or why officials believe the release was accidental.
The flight crew of the Boeing 767 declared an emergency to get priority to land at the airport in Hawaii.
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