“We’ve got the guy out of the cockpit:” US pilot charged with 80 counts of attempted murder after trying to cut fuel to engines mid-flight

“We’ve got the guy out of the cockpit:” US pilot charged with 80 counts of attempted murder after trying to cut fuel to engines mid-flight

An off-duty pilot has been charged with more than 80 counts of attempted murder after attempting to cut fuel supply to the engines of an Alaska Airlines flight on Sunday.

The man identified by police as Joseph D. Emerson, was travelling in the jump seat of Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 between Seattle and San Francisco when the incident happened. The flight diverted to Portland on Oregon.

Alaska Airlines confirmed the captain of the flight reported “a credible security threat related to an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot who was traveling in the flight deck jump seat.”

The airline spokesperson said the off-duty pilot tried to deploy the plane’s fire suppression system which shuts off fuel to the plane’s engines.

“After they are pulled, some residual fuel remains in the line, and the quick reaction of our crew to reset the handles restored fuel flow and prevented fuel starvation,” Alaska Airlines said.

A recording of the air traffic control conversation posted online details the moments following the emergency.

“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 issues in the back right now.”

I think he is subdued,” the pilot adds.

The Port of Portland Police Department released a statement saying crew onboard were “able to detain the subject and the flight landed safely at Portland International Airport just before 6:30 p.m.”

A passenger onboard the flight shared with ABC News what was said to passengers by the crew following the incident.

The flight attendant got back on the speaker and said, plain and simple: ‘He had a mental breakdown. We needed to get him off the plane immediately.”

Pete Buttigieg, the US transportation secretary responded to the incident via X, formerly Twitter.

“I am grateful for the professional flight crew and air traffic controllers who stepped up to guide this plane safely to Portland. FAA supports law enforcement in their response and will be focused on any safety considerations for the future that emerge from investigations.”

(Federal Aviation Administration)

F.A.A. records show Emerson was fit to fly. It’s not uncommon for off-duty pilots to travel in the jump seats of aircraft.

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