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Three passengers break airplane bathroom door to rescue woman being sexually assaulted by man

By Mason White 1:33 PM October 20, 2014
Michael Tanouye 

By: Mahesh Sarin
(Scroll down for video) A flight from Hawaii to Japan, turned chaotic after a man kept a woman hostage and raped her in the bathroom.

The Japan Airlines flight returned to Honolulu, after the man sexually assaulted the female passenger in the airplane bathroom, the FBI said.

29-year-old Michael Tanouye of Hilo, was arrested on Saturday night at the Honolulu International Airport, for interfering with the flight crew and aggravated sexual assault aboard the aircraft.

The plane was heading to Kansai International Airport, when Tanouye made his way into the bathroom and sexually assaulted the woman, according to the FBI affidavit.

The woman, who was returning to Japan with her mother after a four-day vacation in Hawaii, went to use the bathroom about an hour and 45 minutes after takeoff.

Tanouye managed to slip into the bathroom with the woman. While struggling to get away from Tanouye,
the woman was able to push the emergency button in the bathroom.

Flight attendants and other passengers tried to open the bathroom door, but were unable to do so because Tanouye was blocking it. They finally opened the door after removing the screws from the hinges.

Before the incident, Tanouye was heard shouting, and his mother told a flight attendant that he suffers from depression and is on medication.

He later stood up to walk around. He appeared to be calm and he told flight attendants that he was going to visit his grandmother.

Flight attendants agreed not to serve him alcohol because he was on medication. After the incident, Tanouye’s mother gave him a dose of his medicine and he fell asleep.

The plane’s captain decided to turn around and head back to Hawaii.

Tanouye was arrested after the plane landed in Honolulu. The 29-year-old man is being held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

He is facing life in prison for the sexual assault.