Jumpseater Situation Causes Aircraft to Divert

A flight operated by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, diverted to Portland International Airport in Oregon on Sunday, October 22. The carrier said, and ATC recordings confirmed, the diversion occurred because of a security threat related to an authorized occupant in the cockpit jump seat.

“On Oct. 22, Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 operated by Horizon Air from Everett, WA (PAE) to San Francisco, CA (SFO) reported a credible security threat related to an authorized occupant in the flight deck jump seat,’ Alaska Airlines said. “The crew secured the aircraft without incident.”

Law enforcement is investigating, Alaska said. “We are grateful for the professional handling of the situation by the Horizon flight crew and appreciate our guests’ calm and patience throughout this event,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.

A Seattle Times report says an Alaska Air off-duty pilot tried to shut off engines on flight from Everett and had to be subdued.

“I’ll just give you a heads-up. We’ve got the guy that tried to shut the engines down out of the cockpit,” the pilot can be heard telling ATC in recordings. “It doesn’t seem like he’s causing any issue at the back. I think he’s subdued. Other than that, we want law enforcement as soon as we get on the ground and parked.”

Alaska Airlines pilot Joe Emerson, 44, was arrested by Port of Portland law enforcement and booked into jail just after 4:00 a.m. Monday morning, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office website. The booking shows the man was being held on suspicion of attempted murder and reckless endangerment.