JetBlue Freak Out: Passenger Had To Put Panicked Pilot 'In A Choke Hold'
"I grabbed his arm and put him in a choke hold. ... I'm just happy I was able to get him down to the floor."
That's how David Gonzalez, a former corrections officer, described some of the harrowing scene aboard JetBlue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas on Tuesday. The bizarrely behaving person he helped subdue was the aircraft's pilot, Clayton Osbon, who as we reported yesterday apparently suffered some sort of medical emergency that at one point, passengers say, had him running through the plane, shouting about a bomb being onboard and banging on the cockpit door.
The co-pilot, who had observed some sort of bizarre behavior earlier in the flight, apparently tricked Osbon into leaving the cockpit. Then, from inside, the co-pilot changed the access code so that Osbon couldn't get back in.
On ABC News' Good Morning America today, Gonzalez said that he got involved when it looked like Osbon might try to open one of the jet's emergency doors. When he approached Osbon, Gonzalez said, "he kept pointing at me and saying 'you need to pray' " and mentioning al-Qaida. So, Gonzalez said he grabbed Osbon. "I got him to the point where I was able to cut his windpipe and his knees buckled." With help from the flight attendants and other passengers, Osbon was kept down until the plane made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.
After the landing, CBS News, adds, "Osbon was taken to a hospital, restrained and still talking gibberish, say passengers, while both the flight crew and passengers nursed wounds that could have been much worse."
Special note for those who appreciate tabloid headlines: The New York Post's front page this morning blares "This Is Your Captain Freaking: JFK JetBlue Pilot Goes Nuts In Midair."
Update at 4:36 p.m. ET. Jet Blue Captain Charged:
The AP reports that JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon has been charged with "interfering with crew."
Update at 1:22 p.m. ET. Captain Suspended:
The AP just moved this alert:
"JetBlue suspends captain whose erratic behavior caused Vegas-bound flight to be diverted."