The off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot who forced an emergency landing when he tried to turn off a plane’s engines mid-flight was high on magic mushrooms.
That’s according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which reveals 44-year-old Joseph Emerson told investigators he’d taken psychedelic ‘shrooms before boarding the flight. He also told them he hadn’t slept in 40 hours and believed he was having a “nervous breakdown,” according to the document.
Emerson was riding in the cockpit on an October 22nd flight from Everett, Washington to San Francisco when he suddenly grabbed the plane’s two red fire handles, which would have cut off fuel to the engines. Fortunately, the flight crew stopped him before he could carry out the deed. After he was removed from the cockpit, Emerson tried to open the plane’s security exit, the complaint reads.
He’s now facing 167 charges, 83 of which are counts of attempted murder, court documents reveal.