Alaska Airlines says off-duty pilot not only tried cutting engine, he tried to pull emergency exit handle mid-flight


Alaska Airlines on Tuesday shared its version of what happened when an off-duty pilot attempted to disable a flight in mid-air on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, the FBI is looking into whether the man had been using psychedelic mushrooms, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

What follows is the Alaska Airlines complete statement about what happened on Sunday:

“Alaska Airlines is committed to sharing as much information as we can while respecting the ongoing federal and state criminal investigations and court proceedings. We have reviewed the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Complaint pertaining to Captain Joseph Emerson and, like many, are deeply disturbed by what we have learned.  

“On Oct. 22, Emerson approached Horizon Air Gate Agents overseeing the boarding process for Flight 2059. Following well-established, FAA-mandated practices to authorize a jump-seat passenger, our Gate Agent confirmed that Emerson was an off-duty pilot for Alaska Airlines. He was approved to join the flight as a passenger and was seated in the flight deck jump seat. All Gate Agents and Flight Attendants are trained to identify signs and symptoms of impairment.  

“At no time during the check-in or boarding process did our Gate Agents or flight crew observe any signs of impairment that would have led them to prevent Emerson from flying on Flight 2059.  

“The details in the DOJ affidavit describing the actions of our flight crew are consistent with our understanding of what occurred based on debriefings with each member of the flight crew. Upon exiting the flight deck, both Flight Attendants confirmed that Emerson was escorted by a Flight Attendant to the rear of the aircraft where Emerson was placed in wrist restraints and belted into the aft jump seat. Our crew also confirmed that Emerson attempted to grab the handle of the emergency exit during the aircraft’s descent before being stopped by a Flight Attendant.      

“The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a mandatory drug testing program for on-duty crew members that is administered by all airlines, including Alaska and Horizon consistent with our zero-tolerance policy for any substance abuse. This can include random testing before or after a flight, as well as reasonable suspicion testing of on-duty Pilots and Flight Attendants.    

“On Oct. 22, Emerson was removed from service indefinitely and relieved from all duties at Alaska Airlines. Consistent with our pilots’ collective bargaining agreement, we are consulting with our partners in labor regarding his employment status.  

“We are deeply proud of our Horizon flight crew and their quick actions both in the flight deck and in the rear of the aircraft. Working together, consistent with their training, they performed their critical roles exceptionally well, representing the best of their profession.”

Emerson faced his first court hearing on Tuesday. Watch the arraignment hearing in Portland here:



  1. Just read in Fox News, he was interviewed and he revealed he had taken mushrooms. He was depressed and it was the first time he had used mushrooms. He also hadn’t slept in 40 hours. He essentially had a nervous breakdown on the plane. He said he didn’t feel.okay. He thought the pilots weren’t paying attention yo the flying and so he went to control the engine and ” just wanted to wake up from a dream”.

    So glad the pilots caught it quickly so everyone ended up being safe and that this man wasn’t on duty!!!!

    Feel a bit sorry for the guy. So many people struggling with mental issues, made harder by little socializing while in public because everyone’s on their phone. He’s got a long hill to climb with the current criminal charges.

    • You be interested listening into Focus on the Family’s broadcast earlier this week “ Helping Those Suffering From Mental Illness”

      “-Dr. Matthew Stanford offers a compassionate look at mental illness, which affects one in five teens and adults in the United States. He discusses the need for overcoming the stigma of reaching out for help and encourages the church community to offer hope and healing for families with loved ones suffering with mental health issues.”

    • Feel a bit sorry for the drug-crazed psychopath who tried twice to kill 83 people?
      Feel compassion for the would-be mass murderer whose very first magic mushroom hit went bad?
      Felt a bit sorry for, had compassion for Andreas Lubitz, Richard Reid, Club 9/11: Mohamed Atta, Abdul Aziz al Omari, Wail al Shehri, Waleed al Shehri, Satam al Suqami, Fayez Banihammad, Ahmed al Ghamdi, Hamza al Ghamdi, Marwan al Shehhi, Mohand al Shehri, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf al Hazmi, Salem al Hazmi, Khalid al Mihdhar, Majed Moqed, Saeed al Ghamdi, Ahmad al Haznawi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al Nami, did we?
      And we wonder why Americans are the world’s punching bag.

  2. Magic mushrooms, food of the Democrats, can turn you into a Trump-hating, thoroughly deranged lunatic in the time it takes you to say, “can we all just get along!”

    • Shrooms are bad medicine. They can make people flip out. A certain type of people are the consumers, and yes, they seem to be the Trump haters. People have type-casted themselves into this. We can expect much more of these bad medicine events as the 2024 election nears.

  3. This whole bunch of malarkey is Alaska Airlines trying to cover its —, what with all the procedures it was supposed to follow but didn’t.

    The company is a disciple of Pete Buttgig.

  4. I guess alaska airlines doesn’t drug test their pilots. Another reason not to fly with the woke airline.

    • Psilocybin is metabolized/broken down by the body stripping an amine group (NH) off of the compound to form daughter compound psilocin which is the nervous system psychoactive substance. These organic compound(s) in “magic mushrooms” are water soluble and quickly metabolized by the body and so within a couple of days or so are out of the system enough to not be drug testable. There is a fairly small window to be able to test for them.

  5. I’m not a believer in useful, exceptionally well-publicized fast, furious flags no matter where they are planted. They fail a truth lover’s resonance test. Population manipulation is just that – attempts at manipulation for “secret”reasons. Publish it all the way to Africa like will be done in all these wily cases.

  6. I know people who eat mushrooms. I’ve never heard of them making someone psychotically suicidal.

    I’m not saying I don’t buy it, but something is missing. This explanation doesn’t pass the smell test.

  7. This statement from Alaska Air reeks of the usual corporate ass covering politi-speak.
    A normal, healthy person doesn’t just ‘suddenly’ have a breakdown out of nowhere.
    There had to be signs leading up to this incident that the people around him and in his life, either missed, or ignored.
    Somewhere in the chain of events leading up to that day, there were things in the string of protocols, that were missed or ignored.
    This is just one more in long string of events, that leaves me relieved that I decided long ago to never fly with AA if I can help it….

  8. Since he’s a pilot, I’m surprised he didn’t know that he can’t open the door in flight, under pressure.

    “A passenger cannot open a plane’s emergency exit door mid-flight. Here’s why”

  9. I suspect he was having a mental breakdown after having to deal with the trans flight attendants and wanted out of there.

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