The commercial airline pilot accused of nearly killing dozens of passengers is speaking out for the first time, believing he could have escaped his terrifying hallucinogenic state if he had destroyed the plane.
Joseph Emerson was interviewed on Friday by the New York Times at the Multnomah County Jail in Portland, telling a reporter, “I thought it was going to shut down both engines, the plane was going to start crashing and I was going to wake up.”
Emerson was arrested for the bizarre Oct. 22 incident aboard a flight from Washington state to San Francisco. He was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder – one for each passenger – and is currently being held without bond.
He told The Times that his nightmare started two days earlier when he mushrooms consumed with friends while reminiscing about another friend who had passed away in 2018.
He said the death had a traumatic impact on his life, leaving him in a deep funk and seeking therapists to cope with the loss.
Fast forward to October 22nd. Emerson said he continued to self-medicate and take magic mushrooms with his friends, who he believed were mocking him and plotting to harm him.
He said feelings of dread washed over him as he headed to the airport, where he boarded the hour-long flight to San Francisco as a passenger — not a pilot — since he was off duty at the time. .
Before the plane’s doors closed, Emerson said he texted a friend claiming he was having a panic attack.
After the flight took off, Emerson said he went crazy and screamed, “I’m not okay,” before activating the plane’s two fire extinguisher handles.
Audio from Alaska Airlines, pilot went ‘a little overboard’ while attempting to shoot down plane
According to a police report, the pilots flying the plane grabbed Emerson by the wrists and yanked him away from the control panel so he could not cut fuel or shut down the engines.
The report says that Emerson then shouted, “You have to handcuff me now or things will get bad!” He also allegedly sipped coffee from a pot, tried to open the emergency door and asked if this was all real.
That was certainly because Emerson was arrested after the plane made an emergency landing. To top it all off, Emerson allegedly took off his clothes, tried to dive out of a window, urinated on himself and masturbated.
Emerson told The Times: “I am shocked that these actions endanger myself and others.”
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