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Off-Duty Commercial Pilot Arrested and Charged With Interfering With Flight Crew

On October 22, 2023, Joseph Emerson, an off-duty commercial pilot, was arrested after attempting to shut down the engines of an in-flight passenger plane.
According to court documents, Port of Portland police officers responded to a report of inbound aircraft that had diverted from its route between Everett, Washington, and San Francisco to Portland International Airport due to an inflight disturbance. Police dispatch reported that Emerson, an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot seated in a cockpit jump seat, had attempted to shut down the plane’s engines during flight.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Port of Portland Police Department.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.