More details have emerged about the purported disturbance that occurred on an Alaska Airlines flight when an off-duty pilot allegedly attempted to take control of the plane.
Multiple reports have confirmed that the flight scheduled from Washington to San Francisco diverted and landed in Portland following the off-duty captain, whose name is Joseph David Emerson, attempted to shut down the plane engines while in-flight.
Emerson allegedly attempted to trigger the fire suppression system on the plane—which consists of a T-valve handle for each engine that closes to shut off fuel to the engine if those handles are fully deployed. Audio of the alleged disturbs has surfaced on social media and appears to portray a chaotic scene unfolding onboard.
Alaska Airlines has stated that Emerson was reportedly sitting in the flight deck jump seat and scheduled to join a flight team working a 737 flight from San Francisco later that day. Witnesses allegedly heard Emerson saying something similar to “I’m not right” moments before the incident occurred. He later confessed to having taken mushrooms for the first time and being sleep deprived.
Emerson, who was escorted off the flight and taken into custody, now faces 83 counts of attempted murder and is due in court on October 24. This gives a new definition to the saying “it be ya own people” for flight service workers.