Alaska Airlines

Off-Duty Pilot Attempts to Sabotage Flight Mid-Air

A 44-year-old pilot David P. Emerson, who had been on medical leave for two months, attempted to sabotage an Alaska Airlines flight he boarded as a passenger.

According to the airline’s statement, Emerson took a seat right behind the captain and co-pilot in the cockpit of Flight 2059, traveling from Washington to California.

During the flight, Emerson tried to disrupt the plane’s engine operations but was unsuccessful. It was reported that he attempted to disable the aircraft’s engines by activating the fire extinguishing systems. Upon realizing his actions, the crew promptly restrained him, ensuring he couldn’t cause further harm.

Voice recordings from the plane revealed a pilot informing the Air Traffic Control Bureau about the situation, stating, “We have an individual here trying to shut down the engines. He’s currently at the back, not causing any issues. We request law enforcement intervention as soon as we land.”

Upon landing in Portland, Emerson was arrested and faced 83 counts of attempted murder, corresponding to the number of individuals on board.

A flight club president who knew Emerson described him as a gentle family man, expressing shock at his actions by saying, “This is very unlike him. It’s madness.”

It’s worth noting that in the US, it’s standard practice for off-duty pilots to sit in the cockpit while returning home or preparing for an upcoming flight.

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