An off-duty pilot attempted to turn off both engines of a Boeing 737 by using its fire extinguishers.
Off-duty pilot Joseph David Emerson was seated in the flight deck jump seat, which is located in the cockpit, at the time of the incident on Sunday, according to Alaska Airlines. 80 passengers and four crew members on the flight succumbed to the fear of terror as the off-duty pilot had a manic episode.
Before he tried to cut the plane’s engines, he said, I’m Not Okay.”
The aircraft, travelling from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco, had to make an unexpected stop in Portland, Oregon, according to the airline. Emerson was initially slated to join the flight crew of a 737 departing from San Francisco, as confirmed by a federal official. Prior to the incident, Emerson had a friendly conversation with the pilots but allegedly attempted to manipulate two red fire handles that could have triggered the plane’s emergency fire suppression system and shut off fuel to its engines, according to prosecutors.
Joseph David Emerson, 44, admitted to authorities that he had used hallucinogenic mushrooms 48 hours prior to the flight to treat his depression and that, by the time he boarded the aircraft in Everett, Washington, for a flight to San Francisco, he hadn’t slept for 40 hours.
Once the pilot was subdued by airline staff, the pilot communicated to air traffic control, “As a heads up. We’ve got the guy that tried to shut the engines down out of the cockpit. It doesn’t sound like he’s got any issue in the back right now. I think he’s subdued.”
The investigation is now being handled by the FBI. Once the plane met the gate in Portland, Emerson told the police who were arresting him, “I’m not fighting any charges you want to bring against me, guys.”
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