Pilot Accused of Trying to Kill Plane’s Engines Recounts His 5-Day Trip on ‘Shrooms

Dave Killen/Reuters
Dave Killen/Reuters

The off-duty pilot accused of trying to cut a plane’s engines mid-flight while tripping on mushrooms has spoken out from a Portland jail cell, telling The New York Times that he had not properly dealt with longstanding mental health issues out of fear he would lose his pilots’ license. Joseph Emerson said he’d been on an annual weekend away with friends to commemorate the 2018 death of his best friend when he took ‘shrooms for the first time. He said he “started to have this feeling that this wasn’t real” and was overcome with paranoia, hallucinations, and anxiety about shameful or traumatic events in his past. “I was like, ‘Am I dead? Is this hell?’” he said. On his flight home the next day, he texted a friend that he was “having a panic attack” and convinced himself he needed to wake himself up by shutting off the plane engines then later trying to jump out of an emergency exit. He told the Times he still didn’t think things were real as he was being interviewed by cops and held in a cell at the airport, where he recalled stripping naked and trying to jump out a window. It took him five days to finally sober up, he said, adding, “I am horrified that those actions put myself at risk and others at risk.”

Read it at The New York Times

Read more at The Daily Beast.