Erratic JetBlue Pilot Hospitalized, Suspended

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JetBlue Airways has suspended the pilot whose erratic behavior caused an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, Tuesday.

Flight 191 was headed from New York to Las Vegas when passengers had to help subdue distraught pilot Clayton Osbon. He was later taken off the plane in handcuffs.

Osbon, 49, has been a pilot at JetBlue since 2000 -- the airline's first year of flying. The company said a "medical situation" occurred onboard the plane, but wouldn't elaborate.

Passengers said the pilot was yelling and acting unruly in the cabin after he was locked out of the cockpit by the plane's co-pilot, who noticed Osbon was flipping switches and appeared confused.

A group of passengers then tackled the captain and restrained him until the plane made an emergency landing in Amarillo.

JetBlue spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said Wednesday that Osbon was taken off active duty pending review of the incident.

Cell phone video from a passenger on the plane shows him yelling, "I'm so distraught! ... We got Israel! We got Iraq! We got Israel! We got Iraq!"

"We're gonna get doomed!" he said.

David Gonzalez, a former New York City corrections officer, first noticed the wild ranting.

"As soon as he pointed at me, I grabbed his arm and I put him in a choke hold," he recalled.

The co-pilot observed Osbon's strange behavior in the cockpit at about 9:53 a.m. CT.

He then tricked Osbon to go into the passenger compartment, locked the cockpit, and changed the security code before calling the airport in Amarillo.

"JetBlue 191 emergency, and we're going to need authorities and medicals to meet us at the airplane," the co-pilot radioed.

Several of the passengers on the flight were headed to a security specialist convention in Las Vegas. The men sat on Osbon to keep him under control.

They also had to use their belts to restrain the pilot after he broke free of plastic zip ties.

"It was the longest flight to Vegas I've ever had. Thirteen hours. Unbelievable," passenger Gabriel Gavrilov said.

There's no official psychological screening program for U.S. pilots. Osbon is recovering at a Texas hospital, and will likely be released later this week.

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