Passengers safe after 18-year-old takes control of plane in Southwest Alaska

A small airport next to a river as seen from above
Aniak Airport (Amazon River Adventure photo via Creative Commons)

There were some tense moments on a Ryan Air flight in Southwest Alaska Wednesday when a passenger tried to take control of the plane.

The Cessna Caravan with six people onboard was traveling from Bethel to Aniak around 2:45 p.m.

During the flight, 18-year-old Bethel resident Jaden Lake-Kameroff got up from his seat, grabbed the controls and attempted to crash the plane, according to a written report from Alaska State Troopers.

“During the flight, Jaden got up from his seat and took control of the yoke causing the Cessna Caravan to nosedive,” said troopers.

The other passengers were able to restrain him, and the pilot was able to land the plane safely. 

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,” said Ryan. “Passengers helped restrain the unruly passenger, and they landed the plane without incident. Further incident.”

Troopers arrested Lake-Kameroff when the plane arrived in Aniak. He is being charged with terroristic threatening in the second degree, attempted assault in the first and fifth degrees, and assault in the third and fourth degrees.

Ryan said that the pilot and passengers were not injured.

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

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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 consider ways to prevent an incident like this from happening again, and he’ll be calling other airlines for ideas.

This story has been updated with information from Ryan Air.

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