Sundevil Scoop

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Sundevil Scoop

Sundevil Scoop

An OFF-Duty Pilot Attempted to Hijack a Plane


An off-duty pilot attempted to hijack and crash an Alaska Airlines plane that was bound for San Francisco. The flight took off on Sunday in Seattle and was en route to San Francisco. Forty-four-year-old Joseph D. Emerson was in a jumper seat in the cockpit of ERJ 175 on flight Flight 2059 when he suddenly attempted to shut down the engines of the aircraft while they were flying through Washington state. 


The pilots were able to get Emerson “out of the cockpit and he doesn’t sound like he’s causing an issue in the back right now” according to the cockpit voice recordings. Emerson had tried to “shut the engines down,” which would have proved potentially fatal if he had been successful. Thanks to the quick actions of the pilots, Emerson was locked out of the cockpit and moved to the back of the plane where he was met by authorities when the pilots diverted to Portland Oregon. 


Joseph D. Emerson was riding in the “jump seat” of the ERJ 175 as a reserve, or off-duty, pilot for the flight down to San Francisco. Emerson attempted to shut down the engines by pulling the Emergency Engine Fire Shutoff, which would have cut the fuel supply to the engines and prepared them to be extinguished. Emerson’s attempts proved unsuccessful and he was removed from the cockpit. Emerson had his certification for Airbus A320, Boeing 737, Canadair Regional Jet, and De Havilland Dash 8 but did not hold a certification to fly the ERJ. 


Emerson is being charged with 83 counts of attempted murder and is currently undergoing invitation by the FBI in search of a motive. The airline said in a statement following the incident “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.”

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About the Contributor
Burton Henry, Author
Hi, my name is Burton Henry, I am an 8th grader. This is my first year writing for the Sun Devil Scoop! In my free time, I enjoy flying remote control planes at my local park, I am currently enrolled in flight school at a local airport and have started the ground school portion of my private pilot's license. Some of the stories I like to write/read about are world news, local news (such as in our school), and political news.

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