15 aboard Hawaii flight treated after pepper spray goes off

A Maui-bound flight from Oakland prompted an emergency response after a can of pepper-spray “accidentally” went off inside the cabin and affected several people, Hawaiian Airlines said.

At least 15 people, including twelve passengers and several flight attendants were treated for respiratory issues after the plane landed in Kahului, Hawaii after 10:30 a.m., an airline spokesman said.

The airlines said a passenger had illegally brought pepper spray on board and that it discharged accidentally about three hours into the flight, the spokesman said.

Passengers in the front cabin were forced to leave their seats for more than half an hour, Hawaii News Now reported, citing Hawaiian airlines and passengers. One baby threw up, according to a passenger cited by the news outlet.

“To clarify I was in the affected section. First class and premiere section were impacted, we were in premiere. First class got hit hardest. It’s been a wild day,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Worse. We had some crazy chemical in the front of the plane with 2.5hr left,” wrote another user. “Everyone around us starting coughing, eyes burning, etc. Captain has everyone stand in the back for almost an hours. @HawaiianAir had us on a 26year old plane too!”  

The flight crew of the Boeing 767, which was carrying 256 passengers and 10 crew members, declared an emergency to get priority at the airport in Hawaii.

No additional details were given.

About 30 people complained of being affected by the irritant, but no one was taken to the hospital, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said.

Earlier Friday the flight was delayed after an Oakland teenager sent a photo depicting a fake crime scene "featuring a child-sized mannequin" to other passengers' cellphones. The teen and his family were booked for a later flight while officials investigated.

Hawaiian Airlines said the two incidents were not related and the family's baggage had to be located and removed from the plane, which caused a delay.

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration, which screens carry-on baggage, and the National Transportation Safety Board did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Federal Aviation Administration could not confirm what substance was brought on the plane but acknowledged that pepper spray is prohibited on planes but not in checked baggage.

The incident is being investigated by TSA and Maui police. The individual responsible for bringing the pepper spray on board could face civil penalties of up to $13,000, Hawaii News Now reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

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