Michael Tanouye — a 29-year-old man from Hawaii — sexually assaulted a female passenger on a Japan Airlines flight from Honolulu to Kansai, Japan, the FBI have said. The incident occurred after Tanouye allegedly forced his way into the plane’s bathroom and assaulted the woman, an hour and 45 minutes after it took off from Honolulu International Airport.
Once he got into the bathroom, Tanouye attempted to take the unnamed Japanese woman’s clothes off, before allegedly exposing himself. While fighting back, the woman pushed the emergency button. Her terrified mother, the flight crew and other passengers tried to open the bathroom door but Tanouye was blocking it on the inside and the woman remained trapped with him for a few minutes.
Eventually, the group managed to unscrew the door’s hinges, rescue the woman and subdue Tanouye, Hawaii News Now reported. The captain then decided to return the plane to Honolulu where Tanouye was arrested by FBI agents and charged with aggravated sexual assault on board an aircraft and interfering with a flight crew. The sexual assault charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The condition of the woman, who was returning home to Japan after a four-day vacation with her mother in Hawaii, is unknown. It has been reported, however, that a male passenger was injured while trying to subdue Tanouye.
Tanouye’s mother, who was flying with him, reportedly told one of the flight attendants that her son suffered from depression and was on medication. After the incident, she gave Tanouye a dose of his medicine and he fell asleep, according to the affidavit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Butrick told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang that Tanouye was facing additional charges and that there were “mental health issues at play”. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Michael Tanouye (pictured), 29, sexually assaulted a female passenger in the bathroom of a Japan Airlines plane, the FBI have said. Tanouye’s actions forced the plane, from Hawaii to Japan, to turn around.
2. Tanouye allegedly forced his way into the restroom an hour and 45 minutes after the Japan Airlines flight took off. He then ‘tried to take the passenger’s clothes off, before exposing himself’ (file picture).
3. The captain of the plane reportedly made the decision to return to Honolulu International Airport (pictured) two hours into the flight after hearing that it took three passengers to keep Tanouye calm.
4. The plane was travelling to Kansai International Airport (pictured) when the assault occurred.
And here is the video:
Source: Hawaii News Now.