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Joseph Emerson, a 44-year-old former pilot from Pleasant Hill, California, has been released on bail after being charged with reckless endangerment related to an in-flight incident.

Alaska Air Group Flight/

Emerson, who initially faced attempted murder charges, pleaded not guilty. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan decided on his conditional release.

 131511532 Alaska Plane

According to the Associated Press, the judge’s ruling stipulated that “Emerson post a $50,000 bond, undergo mental health services, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and not come within 30 feet (9 meters) of an operable aircraft.” These conditions were set following Emerson’s attempt to disable the engines of a plane mid-flight. Emerson had reportedly ingested psychedelic mushrooms before the incident and was under the impression that he was dreaming when he pulled an emergency alarm.

Alaska Airlines Pilot

Initially, a grand jury indicted Emerson on 83 counts of recklessly endangering another person, corresponding to each passenger on board. However, these charges have since been reduced. The incident involved Emerson attempting to manipulate the fuel controls on the October 22 flight while seated in the “jump seat,” a position reserved mainly for airline employees in the cabin near the pilots.


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