JetBlue Captain Subdued After Pounding On Cockpit

By: CBS/AP (Posted by Kion Hudson)
By: CBS/AP (Posted by Kion Hudson)

(CBS/AP)-- A police officer and an off-duty airline pilot subdued a JetBlue captain Tuesday morning aboard a Las Vegas-bound flight when the captain started pounding on the cockpit door after the flight's co-pilot asked him to leave and subsequently locked him out, a federal official told CBS News.

The captain became incoherent during JetBlue Flight 191 from New York's John F. Kennedy International, prompting the co-pilot to get him to leave the cockpit, the official said. JetBlue said in a statement to CBS News that the flight was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, "for a medical situation involving the captain."

Jet Blue flight 191 enroute from JFK to Las Vegas. The flight was diverted to Amarillo after the pilot reported an in-flight-emergency concerning an out-of-control passenger on board.Heidi Karg, a passenger on the flight, told CNN that she heard a lot of commotion. She said a man she thought was the captain was trying to get into the cockpit, shouting "I need the code, gimme the code, I need to get in there." The pilot urged for someone to restrain him, she said.

"We heard the word 'bomb,'" Karg said. "We didn't know exactly what was going on."

The captain "looked like he was having a panic attack" and was screaming during the incident, a passenger told CBS News in a telephone interview.

Another passenger said in text messages to CBS News that the captain was restrained on the ground until the plane landed. The passenger wrote that at least four other passengers helped subdue the captain.

A different federal official told CBS News that the incident doesn't appear to be related to terrorism but the FBI is investigating. The police officer, who works for the New York Police Department, was travelling as a passenger.

The "ill crewmember" was taken to a local medical facility after the plane landed in Amarillo, JetBlue said.

Shane Helton, 39, of Quinlan, Okla., said he saw emergency and security personnel coming on and off the plane as it sat on the tarmac at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.

"They pulled one guy out on a stretcher and put him in an ambulance," said Helton, who went to the airport with his fiancee to see one of her sons off as he joined the Navy.

Helton said the ambulance then sat on the tarmac next to the plane for more than 30 minutes.

The passenger who spoke to CBS News said that authorities were questioning passengers in the Amarillo airport. JetBlue said a different plane was dispatched to Amarillo from Long Beach, Calif., to transport the passengers to Las Vegas.


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