Eighteen-year-old Jaden Lake-Kameroff tried to end his life on a small plane in Alaska when he took over the plane’s controls and caused the aircraft to nosedive, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.
With the help of four other passengers prying the teen from the controls, pilot Joshua Kersch was able to take over and safely land the plane, according to an online statement from the troopers.
The Ryan Air flight was between Bethel and Aniak, two small communities in Alaska 90 miles apart.
“Lake-Kameroff had asked the pilot to fly the plane earlier during the flight and initially asked to sit in the unoccupied copilot seat,” Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the troopers told the Anchorage Daily News. Kersch denied both requests.
The plane was five miles from the Aniak airport and in the process of landing when the controls were grabbed, a sworn affidavit signed by state trooper Jason Bohac read, according to the outlet.
Lake-Kameroff was seated in the second row of the plane, according Ryan Air president Lee Ryan, and was able to reach “over the copilot seat” and grab the yolks, NBC News said.
The aircraft had no barrier between the rest of the aircraft and the pilot’s cockpit, trooper McDaniel told NBC. This is standard for a plane of its small size.
Passengers on the small aircraft said they thought they were “going to die” as Jaden Lake-Kameroff caused the plane to nosedive during his suicide attempt. https://t.co/K4bRkH2rte
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 9, 2021
According to the affidavit, Kersch said he was scared for the others on board but said his biggest concern was trying to maintain control of the plane, NBC reported.
The pilot relied heavily on his training and his “professionalism” to land the plane safely, Ryan said, per NBC.
“We have different types of training and security training and different procedures,” Ryan said. “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.”(RELATED: Man Charged For Allegedly Training To Hijack A Plane And Carry Out ‘9/11-Style Attack’ On US)
The affidavit also revealed the teen tried to end his life on the plane, and that he has spoken with mental health professionals before.
Lake-Kameroff was arrested immediately after the plane touched down. He is facing charges of second-degree terroristic threatening, five counts of attempted first-degree assault and four charges of third-degree assault.
The Federal Aviation Administration was notified about the incident, according to the trooper’s statement.