JetBlue Flight Makes Unplanned Landing After Captain Reportedly Yells About A Bomb

What could terrify passengers even more than a flight attendant ranting on the PA system about crashing while still on the runway? Perhaps when a plane’s captain is in the midst of a “medical situation” where he’s reportedly yelling about blowing up the plane during the flight, as happened to JetBlue passengers this morning.

The Amarillo Globe News says the flight bound for Las Vegas from New York made an unexpected landing in the Texas panhandle after an episode with the captain. A passenger told the paper he emerged from the restroom “shouting, ‘Iraq, al-Qaida, terrorism, we’re all going down.’

“We heard the word `bomb,’” another passenger told CNN. “We didn’t know exactly what was going on.”

The crew reportedly kicked the pilot out of the cockpit, and he tried to use the intercom system, which had been disabled. When he attempted to get back into the cockpit, his code had changed. After he began pounding on the door, a former prison security guard “grabbed him by the neck and choked the captain until he collapsed.”

He wasn’t giving up the fight then, either — he allegedly elbowed a flight attendant in the ribs during a struggle and broke through a zip tie that had been placed on his wrists. Passengers handed over their seat belts to restrain his arms behind him.

JetBlue Airways said in a statement that the captain had a “medical situation” and that the pilot in command of the aircraft elected to land in Amarillo about 10 a.m. There was an off-duty captain on the flight, who went to the cockpit deck to take over once on the ground, and the captain was taken to a medical facility.

And since we’re living in a digital age, seems there’s already a video from a passenger on the flight:

Passengers: Pilot screamed about threats from al-Qaida, bombs aboard jet [Amarillo Globe News]

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  1. PhiTauBill says:

    Wow, that sounds pretty scary to me….

  2. Hi_Hello says:

    that’s crazy.

    I feel bad for pilots. It’s a very stressful job and crazy hours. Just like air traffic controller. They will should automate the whole flying process.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Skynet approves.

    • dush says:

      you feel sorry for pilots and controllers so let’s take away their employment and replace it with automation?

    • Velvet Jones says:

      I hope you realize that most auto pilots systems cannot auto land in a cross wind, usually about 10 knots or so depending on the plane. That would suck to be on your automated plane on a windy day. I guess you would just have to fly in circles until either the wind stopped or you ran out of fuel.

      • axhandler1 says:

        Well, once you ran out of fuel, they would have no trouble landing in a crosswind. That plane would land, guaranteed.

      • unpolloloco says:

        Or until those systems improve to the point that they can land in those situations. There’s no physical reason they can’t, just algorithmic reasons. Once computers improve further, pilots will no longer be needed. The question is when, not if.

  3. Cicadymn says:

    This is why we don’t need the TSA touching little boys in wheelchairs.

    Passengers won’t ever let 9/11 happen again.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      hell yea. I remember a show/comedy that said if there was two airport, one with TSA and one without. People would not go to the one without.

      I would go to the one without and if some terrorist tried to hijack a plane, I want the chance to make sure his plan fails, even if it cost me my life.

      Why? Just to show the world that there is no way in hell, I”m letting anyone repeat 9/11.

      • ludwigk says:

        That’s an interesting notion (comedy show comment). In the Bay area, we have two relatively accessible airports, Oakland International, and SFO (San Francisco). Oakland is a TSA airport, and San Francisco opts out with a private screener. San Francisco sees far more traffic, mainly because a) it is in San Francisco, and b) BART goes right to the terminals.

    • dwtomek says:

      Lord knows Mark Whalberg won’t let it happen again.

    • Aliciaz777 says:

      You’re 100% right. Every single airplane incident that’s happened since 9/11 has been published in the news, and every single one has ended the same: passengers subdued the person(s) almost immediately. 9/11 will be fresh in everyone’s mind for a looooong time, and I’m sure future generations will know all about it as well. I doubt anything that awful will ever happen again.

  4. humphrmi says:

    I love how, after the ruckus erupts, people can be seen lining up from the back of the plane, as if to help smack down the pilot.

    Kinda like this… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0GW0Vnr9Yc

  5. Cat says:

    I like Jet Blue. Really, I do. Not as much as I used to, but relative to other airlines, not quite so bad.

    But seriously – Are they doing something to make their employees snap and go crazy, or do they hire only people that are ready to snap?

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “…or do they hire only people that are ready to snap?”

      Maybe they get them at a discount. Wages so low they’re craaaazy!

      • Menelly says:

        I worked for JetBlue for 3 years as customer service. My wages were comparable with most call centers, and I worked from home and flew for free. Wages are fine. :)

  6. Thopter says:

    “Passengers handed over their seat belts to restrain his arms behind him.”

    The seatbelts are removable? I’ve flown for years and never knew that.

    • Sunrisecarole says:

      Extensions for larger passengers are .. just sayin’…..

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      During that safety briefing at the beginning of the flight in which the flight attendant shows you how to operate the seat belt? That is an actual seat belt, not simply a prop. There was a fad a few years back of young men pilfering the seat belts to wear as utility belts.

      But now that the public at large knows the seat belts can be readily detached and used to bind or even strangle passengers and crew, it goes to follow that we should ban seat belts on aircraft now.

      /s

    • dulcinea47 says:

      I read elsewhere that they used peoples’ belts… as in what you use to hold your pants up, not the seat belts.

  7. some.nerd says:

    Wow, this looks even more exciting than the complementary in-flight DirecTV and SiriusXM radio! I hope the passengers got their fill of free snacks and non-alcoholic beverages during the flight.

  8. Lisa W says:

    Pilots with medical conditions that can make them go crazy??? Isolated incident, I’m sure, but still scary!

    I still like JetBlue and will fly the airline in the future.

  9. humperdinck says:

    He ordered the fish.

  10. Howie411 says:

    Wow that persons cell phone camera sucks.

    • bluline says:

      I’ve seen one report that states the flight attendants asked passengers not to record the incident. Guess that didn’t work!

  11. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    I’m waiting for Youtube to pull this video because of copyrighted video playing on one of the seat-back video displays.

  12. The Twilight Clone says:

    God bless low-res handheld videos.

    • bluline says:

      I’ve seen one report that states the flight attendants asked passengers not to record the incident. Guess that didn’t work!

  13. Blueskylaw says:

    “JetBlue Airways said in a statement that the captain had a “medical situation”

    Perhaps he was also “tired” and “emotional”.

    The phrase tired and emotional is a chiefly British euphemism for drunk. It was popularised by the British satirical magazine Private Eye in 1967 after being used in a spoof diplomatic memo to describe the state of Labour Cabinet minister George Brown,[1] but is now used as a stock phrase.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tired_and_emotional

  14. EccentricJeff says:

    I picked a bad weekend to stop sniffing glue!

  15. orion70 says:

    It’s scary to think of what could have happened if the other pilot had excused themselves to use the bathroom, leaving this mr. medical emergency alone in the cockpit.

  16. Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

    Didn’t a flight attendant just go nutty like this a couple weeks ago? Something in that recirculated air…

    • phsiii says:

      You mean the incident mentioned IN THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE ARTICLE? Reading comprehension, not just a good idea…

  17. ElBobulo says:

    Yes, something similar recently happened with an attendent. Same situation, employee “loses it”, yells about bombs, is subdued, and then taken away with a “medical condition”. Not to be a conspiracy nut, but this sure sounds like some kind of movie. Do these employees know something that we don’t???

    • Major Tom Coming Home says:

      If the people involved were rational I might put stock into a conspiracy theory, but from what the pax have all stated the FA and pilot both had to be dragged off while strapped to wheelchairs screaming, drooling, and probably crapping themselves.

  18. Naked-Gord-Program says:

    There’s a bomb in this blog post!

  19. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    Having an off duty pilot in the cabin outside of the cockpit seems like it might actually be a good thing for safety, not that it would necessarily be feasible with scheduling etc. If someone managed to get the code, make it into the cockpit, and throw acid in the pilot’s faces for example the pax could subdue the terrorist and the off duty person could land the aircraft.

    And like others have said, the passengers are both the last and best line of defense when it comes to airline safety. I feel it is my duty as an American to be alert and ready to act if it becomes necessary.

  20. travel_nut says:

    TSA is gonna start confiscating zip ties now.

    • scoosdad says:

      A passenger who helped restrain the captain said on morning TV today that the zip ties JetBlue had on board were all defective and they went through them all looking for one that would hold. So the captain didn’t break through the zip ties because of his strength, they were defective in the first place and couldn’t be used.

      I’ll bet it’s on their to-do list this morning– ‘buy better zip ties for all the planes, spend more than 3 cents apiece for them, and don’t go with the lowest bidder this time’.

      When I pull a few ties out of my stash to go out in the yard to use one, I always take a few spares just in case. Seems like one out of three or four in the bags you get at the big box home improvement stores are defective from the get-go and don’t hold. The brands that use a metal resistance tab inside the end instead of plastic are usually pretty reliable and worth the extra money.