Pilot pleads not guilty to 83 counts of attempted murder after ‘trying to turn off plane while high on magic mushrooms’

Pilot pleads not guilty to 83 counts of attempted murder after ‘trying to turn off plane while high on magic mushrooms’

A PILOT has appeared in court on a staggering 83 counts of attempted murder after allegedly trying to shut down a plane’s engine “while high on magic mushrooms”.

Joseph Emerson, 44, was off duty on Sunday when he allegedly carried out the dangerous stunt during a flight from Washington to San Francisco.

APJoseph Emerson appeared in court on 83 counts of attempted murder[/caption]

ReutersThe off duty pilot allegedly attempted to shut down a plane’s engine while he was high on magic mushrooms[/caption]

FacebookHe pleaded not guilty to all 83 counts[/caption]

The rogue Alaska Airlines pilot allegedly attempted to shut off the engines’ fuel supply.

He appeared before court in a blue prison jumpsuit and sported a prink t-shirt underneath.

During the speedy hearing, Emerson did not personally address the court but did speak to his attorney from behind a glass partition.

He pleaded not guilty to all 83 counts of attempted murder through his lawyer. 

Earlier today, Emerson was also charged in federal court for interfering with flight crew and also faces severe state charges of 83 counts of attempted murder and reckless endangerment.

According to a his testimony, Emerson said “I’m not okay” before grabbing two red fire handles which would have shut down the plane’s engines.

He later told officials: “Yeah… I pulled both emergency shut off handles because I thought I was dreaming and I just wanna wake up.”

According to a federal affidavit, Emerson had allegedly become depressed around six months ago, and claimed it was his first time taking magic mushrooms.

The plane made an emergency landing in Oregon before Emerson was arrested. 

In a statement from the District of Oregon Department of Justice, they said: “Emerson attempted to grab and pull two red fire handles that would have activated the plane’s emergency fire suppression system and cut off fuel to its engines. 

“After a brief physical struggle with the pilots, Emerson exited the cockpit”.

Emerson had allegedly been speaking to the planes two pilots before he is claimed to have pulled off his crazed stunt and told them that he had been an employee there for 10 years, before throwing his headset across the cockpit.

After reaching for the two red levers, one of the pilots “wrestled” him off before declaring an in-flight emergency and telling flight attendants Emerson was “losing it”.

The two red levers were the fire suppression system which includes a T-shaped handle for each engine.

“If the T-handle is fully deployed, a valve in the wing closes to shut off fuel to the engine. In this case, the quick reaction of our crew to reset the T-handles ensured engine power was not lost,” Alaska Airlines said.

The panicked duo then turned off autopilot and changed course for Portland, according to the affidavit.

One Emerson had exited the cockpit, he was spotted “peacefully walking to the back of the aircraft” and told one flight attendant he “just got kicked out of the flight deck”.

According to the court documents, he then said: “You need to cuff me right now or it’s going to be bad.”

Flight attendants allegedly had to place restrain Emerson’s wrists and seat him in the rear of the aircraft.

He then reportedly tried to grab the handle of an emergency exit and a flight attendant stopped him by placing her hands on top of his.

One of the attendants also claimed he made statements including “I messed everything up”, and “he tried to kill everybody”.

In a recorded interview with cops, Emerson said he believed he was having a “nervous breakdown” and had not slept in 40 hours.

“I didn’t feel okay. It seemed like the pilots weren’t paying attention to what was going on. They didn’t… it didn’t seem right,” he told cops. 

Emerson ultimately denied taking any medication but admitted to cops he had been using psychedelic mushrooms for the first time.

The captain allegedly told ground control at the time of the incident: “We’ve got the guy that tried to shut the engines down out of the cockpit.

“He doesn’t sound like he’s causing any issue in the back right now, and I think he’s subdued.

“Other than that, yeah, we want law enforcement as soon as we get on the ground and parked.”

There were 80 passengers including children along with four crewmembers on board the plane at the time.

Aubrey Gavello, who was on board the plane, said a flight attendant told passengers that Emerson suffered a mental breakdown.

“After we did land and the gentleman was escorted off, the flight attendant got back on the speaker and said, plain and simple, ‘He had a mental breakdown. We needed to get him off the plane immediately’,” she told ABC.

Alaska Airlines released a statement at 6pm on October 23 saying: “On Oct. 22, Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 operated by Horizon Air from Everett, WA (PAE) to San Francisco, CA (SFO) reported a credible security threat related to an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot, identified as Captain Joseph Emerson, who was traveling in the flight deck jump seat.

“Captain Emerson unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the operation of the engines.

“The Horizon Captain and First Officer quickly responded, and the crew secured the aircraft without incident.

“Engine power was not lost despite the off-duty pilot’s attempt to shut down the engines by engaging the Engine Fire Handle, also known as the fire suppression system. 

“All passengers on board were able to complete their journey with a new crew and aircraft.

“We are grateful for the patience of our guests throughout this event and are reaching out to each of them individually to discuss their experience and check-in on their well-being.

“Captain Emerson joined Alaska Air Group as a Horizon First Officer in August 2001. In June 2012, Emerson left Horizon to join Virgin America as a pilot. 

“Emerson became an Alaska Airlines First Officer following Alaska’s acquisition of Virgin America in 2016.

“He became an Alaska Airlines Captain in 2019. 

‘Throughout his career, Emerson completed his mandated FAA medical certifications in accordance with regulatory requirements, and at no point were his certifications denied, suspended or revoked.”

FacebookHe claimed it was his first time taking the psychedelic drug[/caption]

FacebookEmerson joined Alaska Air Group as a Horizon first officer in August 2001 and in 2012, left Horizon to join Virgin America as a pilot[/caption]

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