Passengers tackle 'crazy' pilot yelling about bombs and Iraq
'Say your prayers... We're all going down!' screams captain to terrified travellers on JetBlue flight
A PILOT had to be wrestled to the floor by passengers on a flight from New York to Las Vegas yesterday after ranting about bombs and screaming: "Say your prayers... We're all going down!"
The farcical scenes began 34,000 feet up in the air while Captain Clayton Osbon was flying the JetBlue airbus over Kansas and Oklahoma. According to the New York Post, he began ranting about bombs, unnerving his first officer who advised him to go to the bathroom to "cool off".
Then, in full view of 135 passengers, he reportedly began running up and down the aisle shouting: "Say your prayers, say your prayers. Iraq, al-Qaeda, terrorism, we're all going down!" This part of Osbon's breakdown is captured in the video below.
An off-duty pilot stepped into the cockpit to help the first officer and swiftly locked the door. But this further enraged Osbon, who apparently began to hammer on the door, shouting: "You gotta let me in!"
Crew members tried to calm him down but when he allegedly pushed a female flight attendant and ran for an emergency exit, several male passengers intervened.
The travellers, who described Osbon as going "crazy", wrestled him to the floor. One retired New York police officer, Paul Babakitis, said he didn't know Osbon was the captain of the plane at the time. "I just saw a deranged person," he said. "I thought he was a terrorist... trying to get into the cockpit."
After Osbon broke two pairs of plastic zip-tie handcuffs, passengers tied him up with belts and sat on him until the jet made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, where he was taken to hospital.
The FBI, Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.
His wife, Connye Osbon, last night told ABC News she had "no idea what's going on". But several family members and friends have expressed shock that such a "fun-loving" and "easy-going" guy could lose his cool so dramatically.