A 40-year-old Anvik man was charged with a pair of felonies after allegedly opening the cargo door of an airplane during a Ryan Air flight on Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers said.
Calvin Chase was arrested Tuesday after troopers received word that he had “opened the aircraft’s rear cargo door in flight after removing his seat belt” and was then restrained by other passengers, said troopers. Three additional passengers and a pilot were on the Cessna 207 at the time, said Tim DeSpain, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, in an email Wednesday.
“The passenger allegedly opened a door within 12-15 minutes after departure from Aniak and the flight crew returned to the nearest suitable runway, Aniak,” said Lee Ryan, President of Ryan Air in an email Wednesday. The flight was bound to Anvik at the time and the return to Aniak was technically a “precautionary landing,” not an emergency landing, he said.
“Safety is our highest priority. Our pilot relied on their training procedures and returned to the nearest airport as quickly as possible and made a safe landing,” Ryan added. The plane was airborne for 28 minutes, he said.
Chase was arraigned on Wednesday and is charged with assault and criminal mischief. He is currently being held at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center in Bethel.
“The incident is being investigated and we don’t want to speculate if the incident was medical, mental or criminal. We are relieved with the safe outcome of the situation for our crew and passengers and wish Calvin the best through the process,” Ryan said.