Sign up to Simon Calder’s free travel email for expert advice and money-saving discounts
Get Simon Calder’s Travel email
The neighbour of an off-duty pilot hit with 83 counts of attempted murder after he allegedly tried to turn off a plane’s engines mid-flight has described his shock over the horror incident.
The suspect, identified as Alaska Airlines pilot Joseph Emerson, 44, allegedly attempted to cut off fuel to the engines during a flight from Seattle to San Francisco on Sunday – before being subdued by the flight crew.
The flight was forced to divert to Portland, Oregon after the captain and first officer intervened to keep the engines running.
Mr Emerson was taken into custody and hit with 167 charges, including 83 counts of first-degree attempted murder, 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft, according to authorities.
The incident has left his community horrified, with the pilot’s neighbour Ed Yee describing what happened as “very shocking”.
“He seems like a really nice guy. Nothing abnormal about him,” he told CNN.
Mr Emerson first joined the Alaska Air Group in 2001 as a first officer with Horizon before becoming a pilot with the airline in 2019.
The airline said that Mr Emerson did not have a history of medical issues.