The off-duty pilot who tried to turn off engines on a plane mid-flight had not slept for 40 hours and had ingested psychedelic mushrooms according to court documents.
44-year-old Alaska Airlines pilot Joseph David Emerson was overpowered by crew and handcuffed on board Horizon Air flight 2059 on Sunday.
The flight had taken off from Everett, Washington, and was headed to San Francisco, but Emerson’s actions led to the plane being diverted to Portland, Oregon.
Court documents claimed that Emerson said he had been depressed over the death of a friend and didn’t deny his actions at the time.
“I’m admitting to what I did. I’m not fighting any charges you want to bring against me, guys,” he reportedly said.
He also allegedly claimed that he had ingested psychedelic mushrooms for the first time before the flight and had not slept for about 40 hours.
After the incident, he was walked to the back of the plane peacefully but he reportedly told a flight attendant, “You need to cuff me right now or it’s going to be bad.”
Another flight attendant said that they overheard him say, “I messed everything up” and “tried to kill everybody.”
Emerson was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder and another 83 counts of reckless endangerment. He is being held at the Multnomah County Jail without bail.
Investigators said they didn’t believe the incident was motivated by ideology but instead a mental illness episode.
“Our crew responded without hesitation to a difficult and highly unusual situation, and we are incredibly proud and grateful for their skillful actions,” read a statement from the airline.
No passengers were injured, and they were able to take another flight to San Francisco from Portland.
Most of the passengers said that they didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until it was over and that the crew kept everyone calm.
“I was right by the cockpit, but nothing woke me up. Nothing was loud enough, nothing was rambunctious enough to wake me up,” said passenger Alex Wood, who was wearing headphones on the flight.
Here’s a news report about the development:
Pilot Joseph Emerson took mushrooms before trying to crash flight, court doc saysyoutu.be
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