Man charged with grabbing airplane controls

Posted: Monday, April 05, 2010

ANCHORAGE - A 20-year-old Bethel man accused of grabbing the controls of a commuter plane landing at Emmonak has been arrested.

Derek Atchak was charged March 26 with reckless endangerment. He was arrested at a Nunam Iqua home.

Grant Aviation officials reported March 22 that Atchak, the only passenger on a flight from Nunam Iqua to Emmonak, had grabbed the airplane's controls as it made its final approach to the village airstrip.

Alaska State Troopers say the pilot took evasive action but landed safely. When the plane was on the tarmac, Atchak fled.

Emmonak is at the mouth of the Yukon River 120 miles northwest of Bethel and 490 miles northwest of Anchorage.

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