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Off-duty pilot accused of 'trying to crash US plane' with 80 passengers on board claims he took mushrooms

Off-duty pilot accused of 'trying to crash US plane' with 80 passengers on board claims he took mushrooms

Joseph David Emerson told police he had taken magic mushrooms for the 'first-time'.

An off-duty pilot who allegedly tried to crash a plane with more than 80 people onboard told police he had taken magic mushrooms.

Joseph David Emerson is accused of trying to shut down the jet's engines during Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 on Sunday (22 October).

The 44-year-old has been slapped with dozens of charges - including 83 counts of attempted murder - after chaos unfolded in the air.

Listen to the moment air traffic control were warned here:

He had been sitting in the cockpit, behind the captain and the first-officer, on the flight from Everett, Washington to San Francisco, California.

Emerson allegedly tried to cut fuel to the plane's engines after telling the pair: "I am not okay."

His attempt to yank the shutoff handles was intercepted by one of the pilots, who was then forced to 'wrestle' with him for around 90 seconds.

According to the criminal complaint, Emerson finally stopped resisting and was escorted out the cockpit.

But he is claimed to have then warned flight staff: "You need to cuff me right now or it's going to be bad."

Joseph David Emerson, 44, told police he had taken magic mushrooms.

The off-duty pilot then later tried to reach for the emergency exit handle during the plane's descent as it was diverted to Portland, Oregon.

Emerson was arrested on the ground by Portland Police, who are investigating the incident alongside the FBI.

In custody, he told investigators that he had suffered a 'nervous breakdown' on the flight and had not slept for 40 hours.

According to the BBC, Emerson said: "I pulled both emergency shut off handles because I thought I was dreaming and I just wanna wake up.

"I didn't feel okay. It seemed like the pilots weren't paying attention to what was going on. They didn't… It didn't seem right.

"I'm admitting to what I did. I'm not fighting any charges you want to bring against me, guys."

The off-duty pilot is alleged to have tried to crash the Alaska Airlines flight.
Getty Stock

The affidavit states that he told cops that he became depressed around six months ago.

He denied taking any medications, but told an officer that he had taken psychedelic mushrooms for the 'first time'.

It remains unclear if he had been under the influence at the time of the incident.

Magic mushrooms can cause the user to feel giggly, excited, confused, anxious, and/or paranoid. They can also cause hallucinations.

Emerson is currently held at the Multnomah County Jail and pleaded not guilty to all state charges during a hearing on Tuesday.

As well as the 83 charges of attempted murder, he is also been charged with 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft.

Featured Image Credit: Sky / Getty Stock

Topics: Drugs, US News, Crime, News, Travel