A Kauai couple were arrested for boarding a flight to Hawaii from San Francisco with their 4-year-old son even though they knew they had tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said.
Wailua residents Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, were arrested after arriving in Lihue Sunday on a United Airlines flight.
Kauai police said the couple faces charges of reckless endangerment.
“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” police said.
According to police, Moribe and Peterson took COVID-19 detection tests before the flight as part of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program. Authorities at San Francisco International Airport took the couple to quarantine after they both tested positive for COVID-19 and told them not to fly.
Instead, the couple ignored the order and boarded the plane with their son, authorities said.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said the couple’s actions were disappointing but not surprising.
“It was a reckless action and it really did not put into thought of other people’s health and safety. It’s disappointing but we know that this is not the first time that people have boarded airplanes knowingly positive and gotten on and made their way to Kauai,” Kawakami said on the Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii live-stream show on Wednesday.
Moribe and Paterson each posted $1,000 bail, and their son was placed in the care of a family member of Kauai, police said.
The couple have been banned from flying on United Airlines flights and the airline is investigating the incident, company officials told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday.
“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place as part of a multi-layered approach to create a safer travel environment, including mandating that everyone on board wears a mask,” United Airlines said in a statement. “Prior to traveling, all United customers are required to complete a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.”
The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press contributed to this report.