The American pilot who tried to shut down the engines of a plane mid-flight while he was a passenger this week took hallucinogenic mushrooms and thought he was having a nervous breakdown, according to court documents.
The events took place this Sunday when Joseph Emerson boarded a flight (operated by Horizon Air) between Everett, Washington state, and San Francisco, California. This sand sat down on a seat in the cabins established by the airline for its staff outside of service hours.
Shortly after takeoff, after talking to the pilots “Emerson tried to grab and pull the two red handles which can activate the system emergency firefighting in aircraft depriving their engines of gasoline,” reported the Department of Justice.
“After a brief physical fight with the pilots, “Emerson left the cabin.” and the pilots quickly reacted by changing the handles, and the plane landed safely. “The crew grabbed Emerson’s wrists and seated him in the back of the plane,” the Justice Department said. Also, upon getting off the plane, Emerson tried to grab the handle of the emergency door, but a flight attendant stopped him just in time.
Over 80 counts of attempted murder
The 44-year-old man was detained on Sunday night after the flight made an emergency landing in Portland, Oregon.
Emerson, who told police he hadn’t slept in 40 hours., also tried to open an emergency door at the back of the plane and had to be restrained by the crew during a crash landing. “I grabbed the handles of the emergency lock because I thought I was dreaming. and I want to wake up,” Emerson told police, according to the criminal complaint.
Emerson and the investigating officer “discussed the use of psychedelic mushrooms and Emerson said that this is the first time he has taken them”.
According to the Oregon District Attorney’s Office, Emerson faces a federal charge of interfering with the crew and flight attendants. He was also charged in Oregon with 83 counts of attempted murder 83 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of endangering an aircraft.