A JetBlue captain who ranted about Iraq and Afghanistan and claimed that a bomb was on a Las Vegas-bound flight was locked out of the cockpit, tackled and restrained by passengers Tuesday, passengers said.
The captain of Flight 191 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport had a “medical situation,” and the co-pilot, who subsequently took command of the aircraft, diverted the plane to land in Amarillo, Texas, around 10 a.m., JetBlue Airways said in a statement…
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…
Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, said the captain said there could be a bomb on board the flight.
“He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down,” Schonzeit told the Amarillo Globe-News…
Antolino, who said he sat in the 10th row, said he and three others tackled the captain as he ran for the cockpit door, pinned him and held him down while the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.
“That’s how we landed,” he said. “There were four of us on top of him… Everybody else kind of took a seat and that’s how we landed…”
JetBlue said the ill captain was taken to a medical facility in Amarillo. As a result of the incident, the FAA will review the captain’s medical certificate — essentially a good housekeeping seal of approval that the pilot is healthy. All pilots working for scheduled airlines must have a first class medical certificate. The certificates are required to be renewed every year if the pilot is under 40, every six months if 40 or over.
Woo-hoo! How’s that for an exciting flight?
I won’t even make any jokes about spending the day in Amarillo.