Update: Pilot Who Tried to Crash Alaska Airlines Plane Was High on Psychedelic Mushrooms

by Anthony Losanno
Magic Mushrooms

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Yesterday, I wrote about an Alaska Airlines flight that was diverted after a pilot sitting in the cockpit’s jump seat tried to crash the plane. The pilot attempted to shut off the plane’s engines midflight. He was thankfully unsuccessful and now more details have been released. He was high on psychedelic mushrooms and his first trip did not go well.

Alaska Airlines flight AS2059 between Seattle Paine Field International Airport (PAE) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) diverted on Monday after another Alaska Airlines pilot identified as Joseph Emerson tried to crash the plane via its the fire suppression system used to extinguish aircraft engine fires. The Horizon Air Embraer E175 landed safely at Portland International Airport (PDX), but not before the terrifying incident unfolded.


The Department of Justice has just brought criminal charges against Joseph Emerson. A probable cause affidavit sheds some additional light on the incident. The agent interviewed the pilots and flight attendants and the affidavit included some crazy details including:

  • Emerson attempted to pull the engine shutoff handles while telling the other pilots, “I’m not okay.”
  • The pilots flying the plane had to physically restrain Emerson before getting him out of the cockpit and sending him into the cabin.
  • Emerson told a flight attendant, “You need to cuff me right now or it’s going to be bad.” The flight attendant did in the rear galley jump seat. During descent, Emerson tried to open an emergency exit and the flight attendant intervened while he said things like “[I’ve] messed everything up” and he acknowledged that he “tried to kill everybody” while apparently trying to text with his phone.
  • Emerson later told police he was having a nervous breakdown, hadn’t slept for 40 hours, and that this was his first time taking psychedelic mushrooms.

Anthony’s Take: This story is both crazy and scary. The flight landed safely, but this pilot put all of the passengers and crew in danger with his reckless actions. He’s now thrown away his career and life by taking a bad trip where he never should have decided to try magic mushrooms.

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