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Public Safety

Bethel Man Attempts To Take Control Of Plane During Flight

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This story has been updated with additional information from the trooper affidavit, and to reflect updated charges.

There were some tense moments on a Ryan Air flight from Bethel to Aniak on July 7 when a passenger tried to take control of the plane. The other passengers restrained the man, and the pilot was able to land the plane safely. 

  

A Ryan Air Cessna Caravan with six people on board was traveling from Bethel to Aniak on July 7 around 2:44 p.m. Troopers wrote in an affidavit that the pilot of the plane told troopers that during the flight, 18-year-old Bethel resident Jaden Lake-Kameroff leaned over the co-pilot seat and pushed on the yoke, causing the plane to nosedive. Lee Ryan, president of Ryan Air, said that the nosedive lasted only a moment.

“Our pilot relied on his training and professionalism, was able to just push the passenger backwards, retook control of the aircraft. Passengers helped restrain the unruly passenger, and they landed the plane without incident. Further incident,” Ryan said.

Lake-Kameroff told troopers that he was trying to end his life, according to the affidavit. It stated that he had talked to behavioral health professionals before, but he said it hadn't helped.

Troopers arrested Lake-Kameroff when the plane arrived in Aniak. He is being charged by the state with terroristic threatening in the second degree, five counts of attempted assault in the first degree, and four counts of assault in the third degree.

Ryan said that the pilot and passengers did not sustain any injuries.

“We're very thankful for the safe outcome, and extremely grateful for our pilot and the passengers on board,” Ryan said.

He called the incident damaging for air travel in the region.

“You know, we rely so heavily on aviation in Western Alaska. There's no roads, it's the only way in and out. And when a scenario happens like this, it's very unfortunate for not only industry, but everybody, everybody in Western Alaska,” Ryan said.

Ryan said that this is the first time a passenger on a Ryan Air flight has attempted to take control of the plane. But he said the airline will be considering ways to prevent an incident like this from happening again, and he’ll be calling other airlines for ideas.

In 2019, a very similar incident occurred when a 16-year-old boy grabbed control of the plane's yoke, causing the plane to enter a steep climb and then a dive towards the ground. In that case as well, passengers were able to restrain the boy, and the pilot was able to land safely. Alaska Assistant Attorney General Grace Lee wrote in an email that the identity of the boy could not be released because juvenile court proceedings are confidential. 
If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call the YKHC Behavioral Health Department's Crisis Response Line at 907-543-6499 or toll-free at 1-844-543-6499.

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