NEW YORK (WPIX)—The JetBlue pilot who caused some terrifying moments for several passengers on board a Las Vegas-bound flight from New York after having an apparent meltdown, has been charged with interfering with a flight crew, according to the FBI.
Passengers were about three hours into Jet Blue Flight 191 when pilot Clayton Osbon began to act erratically and was locked out of the cockpit cabin.
Those on board reported the captain yelling about terrorists, bombs, and the plane going down while telling them to recite the "Lord's Prayer."
Many of the passengers heading to a security conference in Vegas would have none of it, tackling him and holding him down. One of them was reportedly retired New York City Corrections officer David Gonzalez.
"I asked him what was the problem and he started to curse at me and say Iraq and Iran and I said I'm gonna show you what Iraq and Iran is and I put a choke hold on him. I was able to get my hand up under his chin and put enough pressure where his legs gave out."
Gonzalez says he was able to get the pilot down on the ground where other passengers were able to assist but "he broke through a couple of tie wraps. He had a lot of adrenaline." Gonzalez said he had to sit on the pilot for the rest of the flight.
Once the captain was subdued the co-pilot made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas where the pilot was strapped down and taken from the plane on a gurney.
A familiar face to PIX 11 Viewers Laurie Dhue was on the flight and said," New Yorkers have been through so much worse than this that we all were incredibly calm with the exception of a few people who started crying and a few people who were yelling what's going on, what's happening."
Jet Blue has said only that the pilot had a medical emergency.
The airline requires all pilots to have medical certificates to clear them of any psychological illnesses and have them updated every six months. It's not clear if Osbon's was updated.
If Osbon is convicted on charges of interfering with a flight crew he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Osbon case must be presented to a grand jury for indictment within 30 days.
A joint investigation by the FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and local police dept. is ongoing.