Aviation News

March 27, 2012

JetBlue Pilot Meltdown Ended by Choke Hold from Former Prison Guard: With Video and Audio

A JetBlue Airbus A320 like this one was diverted to Amarillo after the Captain suffered a panic attack. (Photo by Kaz T)

A JetBlue flight made an emergency landing on Tuesday when the captain suffered what was described by many as a panic attack or some other kind of mental breakdown. No one was injured.

JetBlue Flight 191, an Airbus A320 (N796JB) enroute from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, was cruising at 34,000 feet about 55 miles north of Amarillo, Texas, when the first officer declared an emergency, according to The Aviation Herald. Onboard were 135 passengers and six crew.

The plane landed about 20 minutes later at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, where it was met by law enforcement and medical personnel.

Fox News identified the captain as Clayton Osbon of Milwaukee. JetBlue declined to share any information about the pilot, other than that he was transported to a medical facility after landing.

Alison Fargis, whose brother was on the plane, said, via Twitter, that the first officer tricked the disturbed Captain Osbon into going to the bathroom, and then locked the cockpit door so he couldn’t return.

Osbon then began screaming semi-coherently about Iraq, Iran and Al Qaeda, and said there was a bomb on the plane. “Say your prayers!” he screamed while running up and down the aisle, according to one report.

Osbon is heard screaming in this clip:

David Gonzalez, a 50-year-old former officer of the New York City Department of Corrections, stepped in. “I said, ‘I’m going to show you Iraq and Iran right now,’ and I just took him in a choke hold,” Gonzalez told ABC News. “I started to cut his windpipe off so he couldn’t get any air,” he explained, and about three minutes later, Osbon was unconscious. Other passengers assisted in keeping him down until the plane reached the ground.

Air Traffic Control Audio of Flight 191 Emergency Landing:

JetBlue said, in a statement, that an off-duty pilot on the flight joined the remaining pilot on the flight deck after the incident.

Passengers restrain Osbon:

Sidenote for the avgeeks: The incident aircraft, N796JB, was delivered fresh from Airbus last week, and this occurred on just its fourth day in revenue service, according to FlightAware records.

Captain Osbon removed from the plane in a wheelchair:

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  • sciencegal

    panic attack??? From a psychologist:   people suffering panic attacks do not have a break with reality.  They usually are more likely to have fearful thoughts and fear having a heart attack or something like that—never heard of a panic attack causing the type of behavior of the jetblue captain.  Sounds more like a psychotic break.

  • Erik Boeijing

    Or mind controle ,strange that there was an ,medical doktor, a retired NYPD officer ,another pilot as an passenger ,a retired Fox <— News reporter ,and some big guys from the army …no one puts questions there ,or why did the pilot got locked out of the cockpit? why this distraction on the media?

  • David Gonzalez

    Congress and the Politicians need to get involved and regulate the Pilot screening, in 2008 Canada had a similar issues from London to Toronto where the co-pilot had to be forcefully be removed similar to my case with the pilot of JetBlue 191and and a Egypt air co-pilot under a lot of stress downed the plane killing 217 people, this has to stop!!! These Airline are the first to charge you for an overweight bag or to make it worst for (2) bags, can’t some of those proceeds assist to justify a psychiatrist to sit with a pilot 5 minutes before he gets on a plane, that way he can get a clear bill of health.
    The pilot in my case is over 40 which require him to discuss any medical or mental issues twice a year and his was up for his 2nd medical interview in a few months, to again disclose if he has any type of “New” medications or if they have any health issues changes.
    What happen to me clearly show that reflects that these Medical exams some should be change to a quarterly basis, because commentators has it that some pilot have not come clean an secretly kept sensitive stuff from the airline doctors in order to keep them flying and not lose their license for up to a year with NO pay. So it becomes a catch (22) issue where we become in ones danger and the flight attendants will require special defense training because after what I went through and getting approval to take the pilot out before he open the plane door, you will continue to hear horror stories on the airline staff because they don’t want to make an simple investment to rather charge you for extra luggage and safety will continue to be secondary.