Kona man admits to making hoax hijacking call


Kona resident Timothy David Hershman pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to making a hoax telephone call to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

During court proceedings, Hershman, a 58-year-old retired carpenter, admitted to calling the FBI on Jan. 17 and identifying another man as someone who was going to hijack a plane headed to Alaska, even though he knew that this information was false.

U.S. Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni said that, according to information produced in court, Hershman called the FBI and named a man who Hershman said was going to hijack a plane that was headed to Alaska from either Honolulu or Kona. During the call, Hershman told the FBI that the other man was a “dangerous man,” and, at the end of the call, said the FBI should “help prevent a tragedy.”

As a result of Hershman’s call, after authorities determined that the person identified by Hershman was aboard an Alaska Airlines flight traveling from Kona to Seattle, two F-15 fighter jets from an Air Force base in Portland, Ore., escorted the flight into Seattle. Upon landing, the unidentified man denied any knowledge of a potential hijacking plan.

The FBI’s investigation led them to Hershman, who confessed to making the hoax call because the other man had allegedly placed fish guts in his truck.

On Oct. 7, Hershman will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright, at which time he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar.