Hawaii Passenger Arrested After Alleged Rape Attempt During Flight

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AIRPLANE SHADOW CLOUDS

A Japan Airlines flight had to return to Honolulu after a male passenger sexually assaulted a female passenger in the airplane’s bathroom, the FBI said.

FBI agents arrested Michael Tanouye Saturday night at Honolulu International Airport for interfering with a flight crew and aggravated sexual assault aboard an aircraft. The 29-year-old Hilo man is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Tuesday.

The flight was en route to Kansai International Airport when Tanouye forced his way into a bathroom and sexually assaulted a woman, according to an FBI affidavit. The woman, who was returning home to Japan with her mother after a four-day vacation in Hawaii, went to use the restroom about an hour and 45 minutes after takeoff. Tanouye forced his way inside, grabbed her by the shoulders and began to forcefully pull down her pants and underwear. “Tanouye also began to take down his pants and underwear, exposing his penis,” the document said.

While struggling with Tanouye the woman was able to push the bathroom’s emergency button. The woman’s “mother, the flight attendants and other passengers tried to open the lavatory door but were unable because Tanouye was blocking the door, FBI Special Agent Necosie Wilson wrote in the affidavit. They had to open the door by removing screws from its hinges.

Flight attendants and passengers told the FBI that a male passenger was injured while struggling to subdue Tanouye.

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