Teenager tries to crash passenger plane into the ground in Alaska

Terror on Alaska passenger flight as teenager grabs the controls of plane and tries to crash it into the ground in desperate struggle with pilot

  • Jaden Lake-Kameroff, 18, was a passenger aboard the small Cessna Caravan aircraft flying from Bethel to Aniak on Wednesday
  • He sent the aircraft into a nosedive towards the ground before the pilot regained control
  • State troopers said the teenager was trying to end his life by crashing the plane
  • He now faces charges of terroristic threatening, assault and attempted assault 

A teenager who allegedly tried to crash a passenger plane with five other people on board has been arrested in Alaska.

Jaden Lake-Kameroff, 18, was a passenger aboard the small Cessna Caravan aircraft flying from Bethel to Aniak on Wednesday, a journey of around 90 miles.

Lake-Kameroff got up from his seat and grabbed the yoke of the plane, sending it into a full nosedive towards the ground before the pilot was able to regain control with help from the other passengers. 

According to troopers, Lake-Kameroff told trooper Jason Bohac that he was trying to end his life by crashing the plane. 

He now faces charges of terroristic threatening, assault and attempted assault, according to the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

(File image) The incident took place aboard a Cessna Caravan aircraft, a small passenger airplane used extensively for small flights in Alaska

(File image) A trooper spokesperson said the aircraft had no barrier between the rest of the aircraft and the pilot and co-pilot seats, which typical in this type of small aircraft in Alaska

According to troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel, the 18-year-old had asked the pilot to fly the plane earlier during the flight and initially asked to sit in the unoccupied co-pilot seat.

When both requests were denied, Lake-Kameroff stood up from his seat and stepped into the front of the plane, where he took the co-pilot controls by grabbing the yoke.

McDaniel said the aircraft had no barrier between the rest of the aircraft and the pilot and co-pilot seats, which typical in this type of small aircraft in Alaska.   

The man told trooper Jason Bohac he tried to end his life while on the plane and indicated he had spoken with behavioral health officials before but felt it hadn’t helped, according to an affidavit by Bohac that accompanied assault and attempted assault charges.

The plane was in the process of landing when the incident occurred, about 5 miles from the airport, and landed safely in Aniak where the 18-year-old was arrested.

According to the affidavit, the pilot, who was identified as Joshua Kersch, said he felt the yoke go forward and saw the man over the co-pilot seat pushing on the yoke.

Kersch said he was scared and concerned for the others onboard but said his biggest concern was trying to maintain control of the plane, according to the affidavit. 

One passenger, identified as Alice Samuelson, told Bohac the man seemed to have anxiety before boarding the plane.

During the incident, she said a woman grabbed the man after the pilot pushed him away from the controls and that passengers held him down, according to the affidavit. 

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Alaska said any federal charges would be determined by the outcome of the investigation. 

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a statement, said it was aware of the incident and investigating.

The plane was in the process of landing when the incident occurred, about 5 miles from the airport, and landed safely in Aniak where the 18-year-old was arrested

Lee Ryan, president of Ryan Air, the company that operated the flight, said the passenger ‘was in the second row of seats and kind of just reached over the copilot seat and briefly grabbed control of the aircraft.’

The pilot moved the passenger back and retook control of the airplane ‘very professionally’, Ryan said.  

‘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.’

He said safety is the air carrier’s highest priority, and he was glad ‘this ended without further incident.’

The state’s online court records system showed an arraignment was held Thursday, and message seeking comment was left for the public defender agency which is listed as representing the man. 

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