UPDATE – April 2, 2012:
Below is CNN video interviewing one of the passengers aboard JetBlue flight 191 and the harrowing moments that ensued in the incident.
The story has made headlines around the world: The captain of JetBlue flight 191 became ‘mentally ill’ in some manner and went beserk on the flight from New York to Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The pilot ultimately had to be restrained by several passengers and crew while the co-pilot diverted to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.
Captain Clayton Osbon, for reasons not clearly known yet, had a mental breakdown while en route to Las Vegas and started ranting and running about the JetBlue A320 cabin.
Passengers on the flight quickly realized something was very wrong:
“All of a sudden,” says Paul Babakitis, a former New York City police officer, “I see a guy dart down the aisle wearing what appeared to be a JetBlue uniform.”
The man in the JetBlue uniform was Captain Osbon.
Passenger Mark Sellouk said:
“He’s banging on the door, yelling at the first officer, I think his name is Steve, ‘Bring the throttle to idle! Bring it to idle! Bring it to idle! We’re going down, we’re all going to die! Pray to Jesus. Open this goddamn door!”‘
Reportedly a flight attendant tried to calm Osbon down, but that did not work:
“We’re talking about a guy about 6 foot 3, 6 foot 4, about 260 pounds, solid as a rock, short cropped hair, bent with a cause, which we don’t know what his cause is,” says Babakitis.
Passengers say that Osbon then went for the cabin door:
‘Passenger David Gonzalez recalls, “I said, ‘I can’t let this guy open the door up here,’ so that’s when I said, ‘What’s your problem?’ He goes, ‘You gotta pray to God, you gotta pray to God, Iran and Iraq,’ and I said, ‘Look man, I don’t have time for that,’ so I just choked him.”‘
Ultimately, it took 5 or 6 passengers and crew to subdue Osbon and keep him that way while the co-pilot headed for Amarillo for the quickest emergency landing that he could make.
Below is the link to the audio transmission between JetBlue 191 and Amarillo tower as the aircraft gets clearance for an emergency landing: