JetBlue Flight Diverted After Pilot's Meltdown

He reportedly screamed about bombs and al-Qaeda
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 4:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – A pilot tore through the cabin of a JetBlue plane yelling about terror threats, warning passengers about al-Qaeda and bombs on board, passengers tell the Amarillo Globe-News. The captain started "shouting, ‘Iraq, al-Qaeda, terrorism, we’re all going down,'" witnesses said. Passengers tackled him and held him down, and the flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas. The pilot was hospitalized. "It seemed like he went crazy," a passenger said. The airline's official statement says the captain had a "medical situation" that forced the flight to be diverted, notes AP.

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The crew had forced the captain to leave the cockpit because of his "erratic behavior," says the FAA. He tried to use the intercom, but it was shut off; when he tried to reenter the cockpit, the lock code seemed to have been changed, a passenger said. The plane had left New York City en route to a security conference, and passengers included security guards, one of whom choked the captain, who was banging on the cockpit door, until he fell. "We all knew in the front rows if he got back in the cockpit, we were going down." The FBI is investigating. It's not the first time a JetBlue staffer has freaked out on board, the New York Post reminds us. Earlier this month, an American Airlines flight attendant had a seemingly similar meltdown. (Read more pilot stories.)

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