In a startling mid-air incident, an off-duty pilot, identified as Joseph Emerson, attempted to take control of an Alaska Airlines flight while in the cockpit, leading to the flight being diverted to Portland, Oregon.
Significant Security Concerns
This harrowing ordeal unfolded during the journey from Seattle to San Francisco, prompting the involvement of law enforcement and raising significant security concerns.
Attempt to Turn Off the Engine
The off-duty pilot, seated in the cockpit in an official capacity, reportedly tried to turn off the aircraft’s engines mid-flight, prompting the flight crew to take swift action.
Reaching Out to Air Traffic Controllers
The pilot assigned to the flight informed air traffic controllers about the unsettling event, stating that a person riding in the cockpit attempted to disable the aircraft’s engines. Emerson’s intentions remain shrouded in mystery, as his airline affiliation was initially unclear.
In the wake of the incident, Joseph Emerson was apprehended by the Port of Portland Police Department and is now facing a staggering list of charges, including 83 felony counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft.
The Intended Destination
The Alaska Airlines flight, designated as Flight 2059, was departing from Seattle Paine Field International Airport with San Francisco as its intended destination.
“Credible Security Threat’
However, the credible security threat posed by Emerson forced an abrupt change of course. The airline, in an official statement, confirmed the “credible security threat related to an authorized occupant in the flight deck jump seat.”
Flight Crew Jumps Into Action
The flight crew exhibited remarkable professionalism in their response to the incident, reporting the threat to air traffic control.
“I Think He’s Subdued”
One of the pilots relayed, “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.”
Their vigilant actions ensured the safety of all passengers on board.
Diversion to Portland
The flight, operated by Horizon Air, a regional carrier under Alaska Airlines, was originally scheduled to take off at 17:25 local time and reach San Francisco at 19:30. However, the alarming mid-air event necessitated a swift diversion to Portland International Airport.
Finally in San Fran
Fortunately, the situation was contained, and the flight was eventually able to proceed to its intended destination at 19:18.
The authorities have sprung into action, with both the Port of Portland Police Department and the FBI launching investigations into this perplexing incident.
FBI Promises No Continuing Threat
The FBI issued a statement assuring the public that there is “no continuing threat related to this incident.”
Emerson Awaits Arraignment
Joseph Emerson, the off-duty pilot at the center of this alarming episode, now awaits arraignment, though the exact timing remains uncertain.
Time to Change Aviation Safety Protocols?
As investigators delve into the motivations and circumstances surrounding this shocking event, it serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges in ensuring aviation safety.
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