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Teen Arrested for Taking Control of Plane Midflight



A 16-year-old boy was arrested earlier this month in Alaska after he allegedly took control of a small plane during a short commercial flight.

According to The Associated Press, the teenager was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Piper Cherokee Six plane operated by Yute Commuter Service during a flight from Napakiak to Bethel when the incident occurred.

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The flight typically takes only four minutes to complete, but the teenager grabbed the aircraft controls shortly after takeoff, pulled them back to force the plane upward and pushed them forward to put the Piper Cherokee Six into a dive toward the ground.

A female passenger sitting behind the teenager grabbed him by the neck and pulled him away from the controls while the pilot regained control of the plane and called for an emergency landing back in Napakiak.

Airport officials called Alaska State Troopers, but the 16-year-old escaped before they arrived. Police caught up with him the next day and placed him under arrest with charges of interfering with the duties of a flight crew, which is a federal offense.

Despite the incident, Yute Commuter Service business manager Keith Henthorn said the airline plans to continue allowing passengers to sit in the front seat of its planes that do not have a mechanism to lock out passenger flight controls.

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