A U.S. pilot is charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after trying to shut down the engines on an Alaska Airlines flight (operated by Horizon Air), officials say. At the time of the incident, Captain Joseph Emerson, who was off-duty, was seated in the flight deck jump seat, which is located in the cockpit. The plane was scheduled to fly from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco before diverting to Portland after a credible security threat. After the incident, flight attendants tied Joseph Emerson’s wrists and sat him in the back of the plane, prosecutors said. The plane was carrying 80 passengers.
Alaska Airlines captain hasn’t slept for 40 hours and taken drugs
The pilots had to fight with their colleague to prevent him from throwing himself on the handles which would have deprived the plane’s engines of fuel. He told the police that he had not slept for 40 hours. He also tried to open an emergency exit at the rear of the plane and had to be restrained by the flight crew during an emergency landing. Joseph Emerson, the famous Alaska Airlines captain, also told police that he had taken hallucinogenic mushrooms for the first time before the incident.
What are fire handles used for?
The aircraft’s fire suppression system consists of a T-valve handle for each engine, and if these handles are fully extended, a valve in the wing closes to cut off fuel to the engine, a indicated Alaska Airlines. The company said: “The quick response of our crew to reset the T-handles ensured that engine power was not lost.”
Captain pleads not guilty
Joseph Emerson was arrested and charged with attempted murder, endangering the lives of others and endangering an aircraft. He also faces a federal charge of interfering with a plane crew. He pleaded not guilty during his appearance before a judge in Portland, according to several American media. Alaska Airlines also announced that Joseph Emerson had been suspended from his duties for an indefinite period. He joined Alaska Air Group as a first officer on Horizon Air in August 2001 and became a captain at Alaska Airlines in 2019, according to the carrier.
Emerson was taken into custody in Portland. It is not certain that the pilot will get back into a cockpit!