Off-Duty Pilot Allegedly Tried to Shut Down Plane’s Engines, Charged With Attempted Murder
While air travel is generally considered safe in recent years, there is no system that eliminates 100% of potential threats. The incident that took place on a flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco serves as an uncomfortable reminder of this vulnerability.
Commercial airliners have made significant strides in ensuring passenger safety, but, as history has shown in other realms of the world, even the most secure systems can encounter unexpected challenges.
In this particular case, Inside Edition reports about off-duty pilot, 44-year-old Joseph David Emerson, who created a terrifying mid-flight ordeal. Off-duty pilots often enjoy the privilege of sitting in a jumpseat in the cockpit, allowing them to commute home free of charge after their last flight. However, Emerson took advantage of this privilege to an alarming extent.
During this flight, Emerson reportedly attempted to access the controls that could shut down the plane. While his motive remained unclear, court documents later revealed a concerning detail – he had ingested psychedelics approximately 48 hours before the flight.
Emerson’s actions sent shockwaves through the cockpit, offering up an unconventional threat that crew members likely had never considered. Fortunately, the quick thinking of the captain and first officer prevented engine power loss and secured the aircraft without further incident. Emerson was detained at the back of the plane, preventing potential disaster.
While Emerson’s attempt to sabotage the flight ultimately failed, the consequences were severe. He faced 83 counts of attempted murder, one for each person on the plane, highlighting the gravity of his actions. Following his arrest, he was placed on suicide watch and monitored closely, with checks occurring five times an hour.
Even though this incident is nothing short of horrifying to think about should one end up on a plane with such an individual, it seems like an anomaly in an industry that has taken great strides to ensure passenger safety.