Breaking Update: Off-Duty Alaska Pilot Charged with Attempted Murder After Trying to Take Control of Plane, Shut Down Engines Midflight

Breaking News

As reported earlier, an Alaska Airlines flight was diverted to Portland Sunday night over a “credible security threat” related to an authorized person in the cockpit.

The airline said the authorized occupant was sitting in the flight deck jump seat.

“On Oct. 22, Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 operated by Horizon Air from Everett, WA (PAE) to San Francisco, CA (SFO) reported a credible security threat related to an authorized occupant in the flight deck jump seat,′ Alaska Airlines said. “The crew secured the aircraft without incident.”

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It turns out the man who posed the security threat was an off-duty pilot.

The two pilots in the cockpit immediately jumped into action, neutralized the threat and removed the man from the cockpit.

Joseph David Emerson, 44, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he tried to shut off the airplane’s engines mid-flight.

Emerson was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and a count of endangering an aircraft, NBC News reported.

“The jump seat occupant unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines,” Alaska Airlines said. “The Horizon Captain and First Officer quickly responded, engine power was not lost and the crew secured the aircraft without incident.”

Excerpt from NBC News:

An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot has been charged with over 80 counts of attempted murder after he allegedly attempted to shut off a plane’s engines midflight on Sunday, causing the flight to divert to Portland.

Flight 2059 took off from Everett, Washington, and was bound for San Francisco, Alaska Airlines said in a statement. It was operated by Alaska Airlines subsidiary Horizon Air, but was diverted due to a “credible security” threat linked to a person in the cockpit’s flight deck jump seat.

Typically, off-duty airline pilots sit in the jump seat of the flight deck behind the pilots to fly back to their home base if seats are available.

After landing, Joseph David Emerson, 44, was arrested by Port of Portland police.

He was booked on 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and a count of endangering an aircraft, according to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office booking records.

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