JetBlue passengers help detain pilot during erratic in-flight 'medical' episode
POSTED: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 12:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 12:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Federal agents and doctors are trying to figure out what happened onboard JetBlue flight 191, from New York to Las Vegas Tuesday.
Three hours into the trip the captain of the plane lost control of himself and had to be restrained by passengers.
"I think, as we know less than 24 hours later, it started medical, but clearly more than that," said JetBlue CEO Dave Barger.
It all apparently started in the cockpit when Captain Clayton Osbon veered from the flight plan, erratically flipping switches and calling on the radio.
His concerned co-pilot somehow persuaded Osbon to take a bathroom break, and when he did an off-duty captain on the flight took his place and locked the flight deck door.
"When he was attempting to gain access back into the cockpit he was now in a complete uncontrolled, near rage quite frankly," recalled passenger Tony Antolino.
Ranting about a bomb, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Just out of his mind and then screaming and saying to the passengers and saying 'Say your prayers, say your prayers," said passenger Paul Babakitis.
Passengers used their belts and bare hands to hold Osbon down as the co-pilot diverted the flight to Amarillo, Texas.
Osbon was removed from the plane in restraints, a picture his neighbors now struggle to understand.
"Obviously something has clicked or something. Clayton is a straight-headed guy, very level-headed and very professional. I know he loves his job," said Elton Stafford.