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Off-duty pilot tried to disrupt plane's engines, Alaska Airlines says

Joseph Emerson is charged with 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft.
Off-duty pilot tried to disrupt plane's engines, Alaska Airlines says
Posted at 11:49 AM, Oct 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-23 17:56:44-04

What could have been a major disaster in the air was averted Sunday. 

Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 had to make an emergency landing in Portland Sunday evening after an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot "attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines."

The off-duty pilot, identified as Joseph Emerson, was traveling in the flight deck, utilizing a jump seat, when he caused a security threat, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines said. 

"The Horizon Captain and First Officer quickly responded, engine power was not lost and the crew secured the aircraft without incident," Alaska Airlines said in a statement to Scripps News. 

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The flight, which was traveling from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco, was met by Port of Portland police officers when it landed. Emerson was immediately taken into custody. 

The 41-year-old was booked into the Multnomah County jail around 4 a.m. on 83 counts of attempted murder. He faces the same number of charges for reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft. 

"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," Alaska Airlines said. 


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