On October 22, 2023, an off-duty pilot named Joseph Emerson caused terror aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 by attempting to shut down the plane’s engines mid-flight. A probable cause affidavit was just released, giving us a bit more context into what happened (and hopefully making it clear that it’s not a good idea to take psychedelics before getting on a plane).
The affidavit, written by FBI special agent TaPara Simmons Jr., based on interviews with the plane’s two on-duty pilots, has some pretty wild details.
- Emerson, who was seated in the cockpit jump seat, attempted to pull the engine shutoff handles and said “I’m not okay,” which might just be the understatement of the year.
- The two pilots on duty physically restrained Emerson for approximately 25-30 seconds, preventing the complete shutdown of the engines.
- After being escorted out of the cockpit, Emerson told a flight attendant, “You need to cuff me right now or it’s going to be bad.” During the descent, he also attempted to open an emergency exit.
- Flight attendants heard Emerson saying he had “messed everything up” and that he “tried to kill everybody.”
- While being questioned by police, Emerson said he was having a “nervous breakdown” and hadn’t slept for 40 hours. He also said he had taken magic mushrooms for the first time before the flight and thought he was in a dream.
Woah. This terrifying incident gives “bad trip” a whole new meaning. Needless to say, experimenting with psychedelics is best done on the ground, if not at all.