An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot was arrested in Portland, Oregon, for attempting to turn off the engines of a plane during a flight from Washington to California on Sunday.
According to press materials collected by TravelAwaits, Joseph David Emerson was arrested by Port of Portland Police on Sunday evening for causing an “inflight disturbance while in the cockpit.”
In a statement, Alaska Airlines explained that Emerson was traveling on a Horizon Air flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco, California, in a flight deck jump seat.
During the flight, Emerson “unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines” because the plane’s captain and first officer “quickly responded,” so “engine power was not lost” and the aircraft was “secured.”
After the disruption, the flight crew followed emergency procedures issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, so they diverted the plane to Portland International Airport.
Alaska Airlines added that “all passengers on board were able to travel on a later flight.”
A spokesman with the Port of Portland explained that police officers took Emerson into custody without incident after 6:30 p.m. and he was jailed at the Multnomah County Detention Center on Friday at 4:11 a.m.
According to the booking information, the 44-year-old Emerson faces multiple state charges, including 83 felony counts of attempted murder, 83 misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, and one felony count of endangering an aircraft.
As of publishing this article, authorities said the investigation into the incident is still ongoing. Emerson may also face federal charges as the FBI is investigating the incident alongside Port of Portland Police.
Article updated on Oct. 23, 2023 at 5:22 p.m. Eastern