The two pilots had to overpower the pilot, who was sitting in the additional seat in the cockpit of a Horizon Air passenger plane, when he attempted to shut down the engines in midflight.
The individual was identified by Oregon authorities as 44-year-old Joseph David Emerson. According to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, he was being held on 83 charges of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft on Monday.
On Sunday, the San Francisco-bound airplane made a detour to Portland, Oregon, where it was greeted by port police who arrested Emerson.
No weapons were used. Alaska Airlines, which owns regional carrier Horizon, said in a statement on Monday that the crew had reported “a credible security threat related to an authorized occupant in the flight deck jump seat.”
The threat-posing individual had left the cockpit, and one of the pilots informed air traffic controllers.
The person who attempted to turn off the engines has been taken out of the cockpit. On audio obtained by LiveATC.com, one of the pilots remarked, “And he—it doesn’t sound like he’s causing any issues in the back right now, and I think he’s subdued.” Other than that, we need law enforcement to arrive as soon as we arrive and park.
The FBI office in Portland stated that it was looking into the incident “and can assure the traveling public there is no continuing threat related to this incident.” The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment further on the event, beyond to say that it was assisting law enforcement investigations.
According to FAA data, Emerson is authorized to fly commercial aircraft. The airline he works for was not immediately clear. On a 76-seat Horizon Air Embraer 175 that departed Everett, Washington, at 5:23 p.m., the event took place.
They arrived in Portland one hour later. How many people were on board was not immediately disclosed by Alaska Airlines.
Another airline employee or a government safety inspector may utilize the jump seat, a third seat in the cockpit, while it is occupied by an off-duty pilot.