Pilot charged with attempted murder for disabling engines

An off-duty pilot of Alaska Airlines has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly trying to disable the engines of a commercial plane while on board.

As per reports, the Embraer E-175 aircraft operated by Horizon Air, which is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, was traveling from Everett to San Francisco when the incident occurred.

Horrified Horizon Air pilots informed Alaska Airlines about the safety threat involving an off-duty pilot traveling seated in a jump seat in the cockpit. The suspect pilot was unsuccessful in his attempt to disable the engines, and the aircraft carrying 80 passengers landed safely in Portland, Oregon.

attempted murder


According to the company statement, “The Horizon Air pilot and his co-pilot responded quickly, the engine did not lose power, and the crew secured the plane without any accident.”

The airline has not yet revealed the flight details or identified the off-duty pilot involved in the incident. However, on Monday, a 44-year-old man named Joseph Emerson was charged by the Multnomah County Police Department in Portland with almost 83 counts of attempted murder, endangering others, and endangering an aircraft.

It is common among airlines to permit off-duty pilots to sit in the jump seat located behind the cockpit. The matter is currently under investigation, and the motive behind the pilot’s attempted murder is still unknown.

attempted murder


The safety of passengers flying on commercial planes is paramount, and the aviation industry relies heavily on the expertise of pilots to maintain that safety.

As a result, the industry works hard to screen pilots for mental and physical ailments that could impact their ability to operate an aircraft during a commercial flight. It is not yet clear if mental health played a role in the pilot’s alleged action.

This unfortunate incident reminds us that safety is not only about the mechanical functionality of the plane but also the mindset of the individuals controlling it. The aviation industry will have to remain vigilant and work collaboratively to stop such attempts in the future and prepare themselves accordingly.

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