The other passengers were forced to subdue him as the plane nosedived.
Four passengers aboard a tiny plane were forced to subdue a suicidal teen who tried to crash it into the ground, police in Alaska claim.
The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, as pilot Joshua Kersch was flying five people from Bethel to Aniak — including 18-year-old Jaden Lake-Kameroff.
According to Alaska State Troopers, the teenager had asked the pilot at the start of the 90 mile flight if he could sit in the unoccupied co-pilot seat, but was told no.
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Then, about ten miles out from their destination, Lake-Kameroff asked the pilot if he could take the controls and fly the plane, but again the request was denied.
But as the Cessna Caravan prepared to land about five miles out — between just 1,000-1,500 feet in the air — witnesses said the teenager suddenly lunged for the yoke and pushed it forward, sending the small plane into a nosedive.
The other four passengers immediately sprang into action, pulling the teen off the controls and holding him down in his seat, as the pilot fought to quickly regain control of the aircraft
According to an affidavit obtained by NBC, Kersch said he was scared and concerned for the other passengers on board; but said his biggest concern was trying to maintain control of the plane.
He did, and managed to land safely and without injury at Aniak airport, where Troopers met the plane and arrested the teen.
He was charged with Terroristic Threatening in the 2nd degree, five counts of Attempted Assault in the 1st degree, and four counts of Assault in the 3rd Degree. Further federal charges could follow, pending an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to the affidavit, Lake-Kameroff admitted to troopers he was trying to end his life by crashing the plane. He said he had previously talked to behavioral health officials, but it hadn’t helped.
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Speaking to investigators afterwards, the other passengers said they feared for their lives and “thought we were going to die.” One told police she’d noticed Lake-Kameroff appeared to be anxious before he boarded the flight.
Lee Ryan, president of operator Ryan Air, talked the incident down, describing Lake-Kameroff as an “unruly passenger.”
He said the teenager “was in the second row of seats and kind of just reached over the copilot seat and briefly grabbed control of the aircraft.” He said the pilot moved him back and retook control of the plane.
“Other passengers I’d say restrained the unruly passenger. But he wasn’t necessarily trying to do anything at that point,” Ryan added.
He praised his pilot for handling the incident “very professionally.”
“We have different types of training and security training and different procedures, and he said he just moved him back in and landed without further incident, got on the radio and let our company know what was going on,” Ryan said, adding he was glad “this ended without further incident.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress.
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