THE pilot‘Alaska Airlines who was not on duty and who had attempted to cut the plane’s engines in mid-flightwas under theinfluence of hallucinogenic mushroomsaccording to American justice.
Joseph Emerson, 44, was not at the controls aboard Everett Flight AS2059 to San Francisco last Sunday, but was traveling seated in a jump seat in the cockpit to fly to San Francisco for duty aboard a Boeing 737.
In mid-flight, he attempted to deactivate the engines by pulling the emergency stop handles. The pilots at the controls prevented him from doing so. He also tried to open an emergency exit at the rear of the plane. Again, the crew had to struggle with him. The Embraer E175, which was carrying 80 passengers, was diverted to Portland Airport, where it landed safely.
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 when he appeared before a judge in Portland yesterday, saying he thought he was dreaming and wanted to wake up.
Recently, a British Airways pilot was fired after snorting cocaine during a stopover in Johannesburg. In July, a United Airlines pilot was tested drunk at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport as he prepared to take the controls of a Boeing 777 with 267 passengers bound for Dallas.