The unnamed pilot of Jet Blue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas “ejected” from the cockpit, and locked out. UPDATE: The pilot, now identified as Clayton Osbon, banged on the door and tried to break it down. According to reports with 135 passengers aboard, he yelled and raved, up and down the aisles: “Say Your Prayers” – over and over, and talked about bombs on the flight. See the onflight videos below. Updates as available.
UPDATE 2:40 pm CDT: This report says the pilot emerged from the bathroom screaming obscenities and threats from al-Qaeda.
When the pilot began pounding on the cockpit door, a former prison security guard grabbed him by the neck and choked the captain until he collapsed, Schonzeit said. “We all knew in the front rows if he got back in the cockpit, we were going down,” Schonzeit said…
“The pilot was a very large man, bigger than me,” said Schonzeit, who stands 6 feet, 3 inches and weighs 250 pounds. A flight attendant was elbowed in the ribs during the struggle to keep the captain subdued, Schonzeit said. The passengers tried to bind the captain’s wrists behind his back with a zip tie, but he broke it, Schonzeit said. “I couldn’t have broken those,” Schonzeit said.
Passengers handed over their belts to bind the pilot’s arms, Schonzeit said.
UPDATE 4:03 pm CDT: Lauri Dhu a former Fox News reporter, now with CNN, was on Flight 191. She apparently interviewed with Fox News’ Shep Smith and said she had been told the pilot is a a former US Military soldier who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrom (PTSS). [See UPDATE BELOW – Osbon has reportedly never served in the U.S. Military]
Laurie Dhue, a former FOX News Channel anchor who was on board the flight, told the network passengers could hear the pilot using the words “Afghanistan” and “Israel” during the tirade. Source: New York Post
UPDATE 5:15 pm CDT: The Sacramento Bee:
Tony Antolino, a 40-year-old executive for a security firm, said the captain walked to the back of the plane, that he seemed disoriented and agitated, then began yelling about an unspecified threat linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They’re going to take us down, they’re taking us down, they’re going to take us down. Say the Lord’s prayer, say the Lord’s prayer,” the captain screamed, according to Antolino.
“He was irate,” Redick said. “He was spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida.”
Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, said the captain said there could be a bomb on board the flight.
UPDATE 5:22 pm CDT: ABC News: The passenger who put Pilot Osbon in a choke hold to move him away from the cockpit is identified as David Gonzalez:
Flight attendants struggled to control him and Gonzalez said the captain began moving in the direction of the plane’s emergency exit.
“I just didn’t want him opening up that door,” Gonzalez said. “I knew if he got in there, we wouldn’t be sitting here now.”…
Gonzalez felt the man get weak and he passed out about three minutes later. Gonzalez and the group of men helping him restrain the pilot with seatbelts and offered him some water when he came to.
“If he got a second wind, I’d have to apply more pressure and I didn’t want to hurt him,” Gonzalez said. “I just wanted to get him calm, get the plane down and get him some medical assistance.”
Gonzalez, who lives in the Poconos area of Pennsylvania and is a married father of five children, said he used to work for the New York City Department of Corrections and now works for a security and surveillance company. He was on his way to Las Vegas for an annual security show.
Gonzalez remained on top of the captain until the plane landed, afraid of what might happen if he got free. He said it “looked like a TV SWAT show” when the plane landed, with police swarming the plane.
UPDATE 6:33 pm CDT: Jennifer Griffin on Fox News is reporting that Clayton Osbon reportedly never served in the U.S. Military.
Begin original report:
Four passengers subdued him. An off-duty Jet Blue pilot on Flight 191 helped the crew to make an emergency landing in Amarillo. The pilot is described as about “6 feet 3 inches tall, stocky with short, cropped hair.” He was hospitalized after landing.
A passenger sitting close to the front of the plane told ABC News that the co-pilot walked out of the cockpit and went to the bathroom before the incident happened.
“The guy was in the bathroom for a while and the pilot inside the cockpit locked the flight door,” the passenger said. “Passengers noticed the guy acting weird when he came out of the bathroom.”
The unruly pilot then went to the cockpit and started pounding on the door. The passenger heard someone yelling “bomb” and “we’re going down.” The passenger believes it was the pilot who had been locked out.
A co-pilot remained in the cockpit and was flying the plane, designated as Flight 191, which was carrying 135 passengers and six crew members.
The passenger said it was a “crazy scene” that ended when a group of male passengers restrained the disorderly pilot at the front of the plane until it was able to land. Source: ABC News
Perhaps this is another instance of an airline employee off his meds, as we saw when the Bi-Polar American Airlines Flight attendant behaved similarly a few weeks ago. Two Sources, FoxNY and NY Daily News
On-flight Video of Captain of JetBlue Flt. 191 Being Subdued
JetBlue Flt 191 – Captain Removed from Flight (video)