According to witnesses, the co-pilot noticed the captain was behaving erratically, then locked the captain out of the cockpit after he left to use the restroom. As he tried to re-enter but was unable to, the captain then screamed that there was a bomb on board, and also yelled about Iran and Iraq. Passengers were then forced to subdue the screaming captain, and an off-duty pilot helped land the plane in Amarillo.
Here are two videos recorded by passengers on the diverted JetBlue flight, along with an interview describing the events:
JetBlue released an official statement about the incident, saying:
Flight 191 departed New York’s JFK airport at 7:28 am ET (was scheduled to depart 6:55 am ET). At roughly 10 am CT/11 am ET, the pilot in command elected to divert to Amarillo, TX for a medical situation involving the Captain. Another Captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo, and took over the duties of the ill Crewmember once on the ground. The aircraft arrived Amarillo at 10:11 am CT, and the crewmember was removed from the aircraft and taken to a local medical facility.
Customers remain on board at this time. JetBlue is working with local authorities and airport officials for the safe deplaning of the aircraft. JetBlue will send a new aircraft to continue the flight to LAS.
The past month has not been a good one for mental issues and the airline industry. Earlier in March, an American Airlines flight attendant had to be removed from a flight following a similar incident. Perhaps some of the vast piles of money that get thrown at the TSA should be spent on better mental health examinations and treatment for airline workers instead.
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