JetBlue Flight from JFK Diverted Due to Erratic Pilot

Passengers said he yelled about threats from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012  |  Updated 7:57 AM EDT
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A JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas was diverted after the pilot began behaving erratically, pounding on the door of the cockpit and yelling about threats from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities and passengers said. JetBlue said the pilot had a

Pei-Sze Cheng

A JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas was diverted after the pilot began behaving erratically, pounding on the door of the cockpit and yelling about threats from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities and passengers said. JetBlue said the pilot had a "medical condition." News4's Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

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A JetBlue flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas was diverted after the pilot began behaving erratically, pounding on the door of the cockpit and yelling about threats from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities and passengers said.

Flight 191 left New York City at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday with 135 passengers on board, and at about 10 a.m. the plane was diverted to Amarillo, Texas.

JetBlue said in a statement that the plane was diverted "for a medical situation involving the captain."

Tony Antolino, a 40-year-old executive for a security firm, said the captain walked to the back of the plane, that he seemed disoriented and agitated, then began yelling about an unspecified threat linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They're going to take us down, they're taking us down, they're going to take us down. Say the Lord's prayer, say the Lord's prayer," the captain screamed, according to Antolino.

"He was irate," said passenger Josh Redick. "He was spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the co-pilot became concerned about the captain's "erratic behavior during the flight" and locked the cockpit door while the pilot was outside.

Antolino, who said he sat in the 10th row, said he and three others tackled the captain as he ran for the cockpit door, pinned him and held him down while the plane landed.

"That's how we landed," he said. "There were four of us on top of him. ... Everybody else kind of took a seat and that's how we landed."

He was taken to a medical facility after the plane landed. 

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