Off-Duty Pilot’s Alleged Attempt to Crash Alaska Airlines Flight: Investigation and Implications

Alaska Airlines

An off-duty pilot, identified as Joseph Emerson, has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after allegedly attempting to crash an Alaska Airlines flight. The suspect, who was sitting in the cockpit, tried to disrupt the operation of the engines.

The incident occurred on Sunday night, when the flight was on its way from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco, California, with 80 passengers and three crew members aboard. The flight was operated by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.

According to a statement by Alaska Airlines, the off-duty pilot was traveling in the flight deck jump seat, which is a seat reserved for airline employees or other authorized personnel. The airline said that the suspect “unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines” and that he was “subdued without incident” by the flight crew.

Alaska Airlines

The flight was diverted to Portland, Oregon, where the suspect was arrested by the Port of Portland Police Department and the FBI. The passengers were able to travel on a later flight to San Francisco.

How did the crew and passengers react?

The crew members on Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 reported the incident to air traffic control. In a recording of air traffic control communication, one of the pilots is heard saying: “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 pilot says. He requested police presence “as soon as we get on the ground and parked”.

The passengers were unaware of what was happening in the cockpit until they were informed by the captain after landing in Portland. Some of them expressed shock and disbelief at the news.

One passenger told ABC News that he was “very surprised” and that he had seen the suspect boarding the plane with a uniform and a badge. Another passenger said that he was “glad that they caught him” and that he felt “safe” with the crew.

What are the charges and investigation?

The suspect, Joseph David Emerson, 44, faces 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft. He was lodged at Multnomah County Detention Center while the investigation continues. Officials said they were unsure when he would be arraigned.

The FBI confirmed that it is investigating the incident and said that it “can assure the traveling public there is no continuing threat related to this incident.” The FBI also said that the incident was “not connected in any way shape or form to current world events”.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent guidance to US air carriers that they should review their procedures for allowing jump seat occupants in the cockpit. The FAA said that it is working with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air to gather more information about the incident.

Alaska Airlines said that it is “grateful for the professional handling of the situation by the Horizon flight crew and appreciate our guests’ calm and patience throughout this event.” The airline also said that it is cooperating with law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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