Horizon Air: A pilot is accused of attempted murder after trying to turn off the engines mid-flight in the US | International

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A Horizon airline plane in a file image.David Zalubowski (AP)

Pilot Joseph David Emerson has been arrested and charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after attempting to shut down the engines on a regional airline Horizon Air flight, owned by Alaska Airlines. The incident occurred Sunday afternoon on flight 2059 en route between Everett, outside Seattle (Washington), and San Francisco, California. Emerson, who was off duty but riding in the cockpit, lunged for the controls to try to shut down the turbines. The other two pilots subdued him and diverted the ship to make an emergency landing in Portland, where Emerson has been arrested by the Multnomah County police, in the State of Oregon.

“The Horizon captain and first officer responded quickly,” explained Alaska Airlines, owner of the regional airline where the incident occurred, around 5:23 p.m. The company has assured in a statement that the engines did not lose power and that the crew managed to subdue Emerson, who was occupying a seat behind those piloting the plane, “without any incident.” After the mishap, he was taken to the back of the ship.

“We have the guy who tried to turn off the engines outside the cabin. And it doesn't seem to be causing any problems back there, for now. I think he has been subdued,” one of the pilots was heard saying in one of the communications to the control tower, which was captured by LiveATC.com, a page that transmits audio from aviation professionals. “Other than that, we would like there to be police as soon as we land and park,” the captain adds in the recording.

The FBI office in Portland assured that there was no other risk for travelers at that airport. The United States Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it is collaborating with authorities in the investigations into what happened, but declined to provide more details. Upon landing, Emerson was arrested and charged with 83 counts of attempted murder, as well as reckless conduct and endangering a federal vessel.

Little is known about Emerson, 44 years old. The newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle He claims to live in Pleasant Hill, a city east of San Francisco. The suspect's neighbors showed surprise and disbelief this Monday after the facts became known. In his neighborhood, he is known as a family man, father of two children and who, in addition to being a commercial pilot, has been teaching for five years as a certified instructor in the NRI flying club. “He is a completely normal guy,” Adam Silverthorne, the NRI vice president, told the newspaper. “I don't know what's going on in his life,” he added. Emerson used social media to support the section of the pilots union to which he belonged and share strike calls and protests in search of better conditions. His life took a violent turn this Sunday.

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