23 October, 2023

Off-duty Horizon Air pilot charged with attempted murder after tying to cut the power in flight.

An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder, the UK's BBC has reported,  after he tried to crash the passenger jet he was flying on between  Everett, Washington, to San Francisco on Sunday.

The initial reports indicate the off-duty flyer was on the jumpseat in the cockpit and tried to disrupt the throttling of the engines at a crucial phase of the flight. Alaska Airlines said he  "unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines.".  The man has been named locally by law enforcement as Joseph David Emerson, aged 44.

The incident is now being investigated by the Port of Portland Police Department and the FBI, the airline said, with the FBI confirming it was investigating the incident and said it "can assure the travelling public there is no continuing threat related to this incident".

In addition to the attempted murder charges, Mr Emerson also faces 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft. 

The carrier said the plane was operated by Horizon Air, diverted to Portland because of the incident and "All passengers on board were able to travel on a later flight.  -  We are grateful for the professional handling of the situation by the Horizon flight crew and appreciate our guests' calm and patience throughout this event."