Alaska Airlines passengers sue it after off-duty pilot tried to kill them all

Many questions remain after an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot, a passenger in the cockpit, tried to turn off the engines and kill everyone aboard. Three of the passengers filed a lawsuit to demand a "forthright public explanation".

A court document from October said that Emerson admitted he hadn't slept for 40 hours, he'd been suffering from depression, and had taken magic mushrooms two days before the flight.

The three plaintiffs said they want a "forthright public explanation" on pre-flight security screenings from the airlines involved, which they say could prevent any future sabotage.

"The airlines need a wake-up call. We understand that most pilots are heroes every day for safely operating our airliners. But they are not immune from sleeplessness, drinking, drugs, or a mental health crisis," said Daniel Laurence, an aviation lawyer at The Stritmatter Firm, which represents the plaintiffs, in a statement.

One problem: pilots that admit mental distress or disorder are likely off the job. There are calls for more compulsory screenings, but this runs into what's euphemistically described as "aviation culture"—toxic, uncooperative and pseudo-military, the sort of thing where the key restraints are managerial procedures and the sides of mountains.

Emerson was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder. A strong if subjective candidate for the Guinness Book of World Records' entry for "worst thing learned upon emerging from a shroom bender."