Passengers aboard a Jet Blue plane were forced to physically restrain the pilot after witnessing him having a severe panic attack and making threats that the plane was going to crash. Meanwhile an off duty pilot worked to get behind the controls to ensure a safe emergency landing.
You can watch the report from Tuesday night’s “World News” below.
The Jet Blue flight from New York to Las Vegas was a frantic scene after the co-pilot kicked the pilot out of the cockpit and then locked him out.
Clayton Osbon left JFK airport on Tuesday in control of Flight 191, but he was quickly overthrown by this co-pilot when the veteran captain “began acting erratically, flipping switches in the cockpit and appearing confused,” ABC reports.
The co-pilot evidently tricked him into the leaving the cockpit and quickly changed the pass code so that Osbon couldn’t re-enter. Meanwhile, flight attendants tried to get the distraught pilot to the back of the plane. Unfortunately, they were not successful.
“The captain of the plane just went berserk,” passenger Wayne Honlnes says. “He came out of the other end of the plane … came running back to the cockpit and he was shouting out these numbers … 500 something. He started banging on the cockpit door.”
According to several passengers on the flight, the pilot made claims that there could be a bomb on board and started yelling frantically about al qaeda. He also told passengers that the plane was “going down” and asked them to recite the Lord’s prayer.
“That’s when everybody just tackled him and took him down,” says Tony Antolino, an executive with a security firm headed to an industry conference.
Another passenger said Osbon told him to start praying.
“I was actually the one that took him down. I noticed he was very erratic,” recalls passenger David Gonzalez, a former corrections officer from New York City. “He was pinned against the door. I was afraid he was going to knock down the door. I was able to put a choke hold on him. I was able to get him weak from cutting his wind pipe.”
It was then that Gonzalez realized he had to do whatever it took to get the plane’s captain under control.
He continued, “When he buckled, I realized I had him where I need him. So I put a little more pressure, and that’s when he almost passed out. So I threw him to the floor. That’s when the team came in and started helping me … I just didn’t want him opening up that door. I knew if he got in there, we wouldn’t be sitting here now.”
Gonzalez says he felt Osbon get weak, and he passed out about three minutes later. The “team” that he referred to were a group of fellow passengers who helped him take the pilot down. They used their belts to tie Osbon down after he broke through plastic handcuffs.
“Another captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo, and took over the duties of the ill crew member once on the ground,” JetBlue said in a statement. “The aircraft arrived Amarillo at 10:11 am CT, and the crew member was removed from the aircraft and taken to a local medical facility.”
Once on the ground in Amarillo, Captain Osbon was hauled off the plane in handcuffs and a wheelchair by local police. He was taken into FBI custody. Law enforcement officials say he had a panic attack. The FAA called the incident a medical emergency. Meanwhile, Gonzalez was hailed a hero for taking the unruly pilot down.