Police arrested Joseph Emerson, 44, yesterday after he attempted to shut off the engines of an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco. Emerson is a pilot for an unidentified airline who was in the cockpit’s “jump seat.” After subduing Emerson, the pilots diverted the plane to Portland International Airport due to the “credible security threat.”
A pilot assigned to the flight told air traffic controllers a person riding in the cockpit of flight 2059 attempted to turn off the aircraft’s engines in flight. Pilots will occasionally ride a cockpit “jump seat” when traveling in an official capacity or commuting to another airport[…]
“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 issues in the back right now,” the pilot told Seattle-area air traffic controllers, according to audio recorded by LiveATC.net. “I think he’s subdued. Other than that, we want law enforcement as soon as we get on the ground and are parked.”
Emerson has been charged with 83 felony counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft.