NORAD Captain Jennifer Stadnyk said the two fighter jets from Ohio flew with the plane out of U.S. airspace as a “precaution.”
Two fighter jets based at Toledo Express Airport escorted a Canada-Panama charter flight back to Toronto today after a passenger threatened the aircraft.
Preston Schlachter, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the two F-16s from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing were already in the air on a training mission when they were summoned at 8:20 a.m. for the precautionary escort assignment.
Sunwing Airlines Flight 772 turned around over West Virginia about 45 minutes after leaving Toronto Pearson International Airport for a trip to Panama City, Panama, said Janine Chapman, an airline spokesman. She said an “agitated passenger directly threatened the aircraft,” but would not elaborate on the threat.
The flight, with 183 passengers and crew aboard, landed without incident. Peel Regional Police, in the Toronto area, said Ali Shahi, 25, a Canadian national, was charged with uttering threats and endangering the safety of an aircraft.
The flight was expected to take off again for Panama later today.