Pilot Charged With Attempted Murder Following Mid-Flight Mayhem

Off-Duty Pilot Charged With Attempted Murder

Stock image of Alaska Airlines Plane. Credit: AlaskaAir/X

An incident recently occurred on an Alaska Airlines flight when an off-duty pilot allegedly tried to turn off the jet’s engines.

On Sunday, October 22, Flight 2059 from Everett, Washington, reportedly flying at 35,000 feet, en route to San Francisco, California, was forced to make an urgent diversion to Portland, Oregon due to a ‘credible security threat,’ as reported by New York Post.

Threat From Within

Alaska Airlines acknowledged that the cause of the incident was due to an off-duty pilot, an ‘authorised’ individual in the cockpit’s jump seat. Yesterday the airline reported: ‘The jump seat occupant unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines. The Horizon Captain and First Officer quickly responded, engine power was not lost and the crew secured the aircraft without incident.’

Safe Landing

After the off-duty pilot was brought under control, Flight 2059’s chief pilots informed the air traffic controllers in Portland. They relayed, ‘We’ve got the guy that tried to shut the engines down out of the cockpit and he doesn’t sound like he’s causing any issue in the back right now. I think he’s subdued.’

The airline withheld the pilot’s identity. However, records from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office disclosed him as Joseph David Emerson, aged 44. At around 4.00 am on a Monday, October 23, the Port of Portland police arrested Emerson.

He now faces 167 serious and minor charges. This includes 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 instances of reckless endangerment, and a single charge of jeopardising an aircraft.

Reports indicate that Emerson, a married father of two, suffered some kind of mental breakdown. The FBI and the Port of Portland Police Department, under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), have commenced an investigation into the episode.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.