Reports: Passengers subdue 'erratic' JetBlue pilot

Authorities board JetBlue Flight 191, which was headed Authorities board JetBlue Flight 191, which was headed from New York to Las Vegas, after an emergency landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in Amarillo, Texas when an unruly pilot caused the flight to be diverted. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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An airline captain who ranted about al-Qaida and a possible bomb onboard his JetBlue plane had to be restrained mid-flight Tuesday by passengers, according to reports.

"Say the Lord's prayer!" the pilot repeatedly screamed before being subdued outside the locked cockpit, passengers said.

The captain's "erratic behavior" during Flight 191 bound for Las Vegas from Kennedy Airport forced the plane to make an emergency landing about noon eastern time in Amarillo, Texas, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

No injuries were reported, but many of the 135 passengers onboard the Airbus A320 were stunned by the tirade.

As the captain suffered from a "medical situation," his co-pilot became increasingly concerned, JetBlue Airways said in a statement.

The captain had to be wrestled to the ground after he pounded on the cockpit door, demanding to be let back in, passengers said.

Seated in the front row, Jason Levin, of Farmingville, said the captain was "banging on the door like a bounty hunter, trying to knock down the door."

A former correction officer from New York City grabbed the captain in a headlock, and Levin said three other male passengers rushed in to help.

Levin, who works in the security trade, said he kept a knee in the captain's back for about 20 minutes as the plane made its emergency descent.

"I think he had a mental breakdown," Levin, 39, said. "Something in his brain wasn't right. It wasn't a terrorist act. I don't think he had bad intentions."

JetBlue said an off-duty airline captain who was on the flight assisted the co-pilot following the incident.

Passenger Tony Antolino said Flight 191's captain, appearing disoriented, suddenly left the cockpit and walked to the back of the plane.

That's when the rant began, Antolino and other passengers said.

Antolino told The Associated Press the pilot screamed, " 'They're going to take us down! They're taking us down! They're taking us down! Say the Lord's prayer! Say the Lord's prayer!' "

Another passenger, Gabriel Schonzeit, said he heard the captain yelling about "al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane, and Iraq and Iran, and about how we were all going down," the Amarillo Globe-News reported.

The former correction officer, David Gonzalez, 50, of Pennsylvania, told ABC News that flight attendants were struggling to control the pilot and that he jumped in to help when he saw the captain moving toward the emergency exit.

"We've got to get this plane down," Gonzalez said he was thinking. "This guy is nuts."

Levin said he experienced a moment of fear. "I thought, Oh my God, is this it?"

After the plane landed safely at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, the captain -- identified as Clayton Osbon by ABC -- was removed from the plane, strapped to a wheelchair. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital for medical evaluation, JetBlue said.

Passengers were later flown to Las Vegas.

The FBI Tuesday was coordinating an investigation with the airport police, Amarillo police, the FAA and the Transportation Safety Administration, according to FBI spokeswoman Lydia Maese in Dallas.

ABC/7 reported Tuesday night that Osbon lived in a rented apartment in South Ozone Park, Queens.

There have been other recent incidents involving strange behavior by airline crew members.

In early March, an American Airlines flight attendant became irrational and combative during a flight from Dallas to Chicago.

Steve Slater, a former JetBlue flight attendant, made a memorable exit from a plane on the ground at Kennedy Airport in August 2010 by yelling at passengers, grabbing a few beers and leaving via the jet's emergency slide. The Queens resident, later convicted of criminal mischief, suffered from depression, authorities said.

With John Valenti

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