Alaska Airlines diverts jet after off-duty pilot in cockpit tries to shut down engines, police issue 83 attempted murder charges

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An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot has been accused of attempted murder after he allegedly entered the cockpit of a Horizon Airlines Embraer E-175 mid-flight Sunday night and attempted to shut the engines off.

Joseph Emerson, 44, faces 83 counts of attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of endangering an aircraft The San Francisco-bound flight was ultimately diverted to Portland, Oregon during the incident. Emerson was promptly arrested upon landing and then charged by deputies from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

According to The Messenger, Flight 2059 had just departed Everett, a town north of Seattle, Washington, when Emerson allegedly tried to down the plane.

Audio recorded by Live ATC revealed that the crew was able to thwart his attempts and move him away from the controls.

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