The airline did not identify the off-duty pilot


An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot who was sitting in a jump seat in the cockpit on a U.S. commercial flight has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly tried to shut down the plane’s engines mid-flight.

The Horizon Air Embraer E-175 was on a flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco when the incident occurred Sunday, Alaska Airlines, Horizon’s parent company, said in a statement.

The plane, which was carrying 80 passengers, was diverted to Portland, Oregon, where it landed safely.

Alaska Airlines said the Horizon Air pilots reported a “credible safety threat related to an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot who was traveling in the jump seat on the flight deck.”

“The jump seat occupant unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines,” it said. “The Horizon captain and first officer responded quickly, engine power was not lost, and the crew secured the aircraft without incident.”

The airline did not identify the off-duty pilot, but a 44-year-old Joseph Emerson was charged Monday by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Portland with 83 counts of attempted murder, reckless endangerment and endangering an aircraft.

Live ATC, a website that archives conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers, released an audio recording of the Horizon Air pilot linking the incident to air traffic control.

“We got the guy who tried to turn off the engines from the cockpit,” the Horizon Air pilot said. “And he doesn’t sound like he’s causing any problems at the back at the moment.

“I think he’s under control. Other than that, we want law enforcement once we are on the ground and parked,” the pilot said.

A Germanwings plane on a flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf was intentionally crashed by a pilot in March 2015, killing all 144 passengers and six crew members on board.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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