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]