A JetBlue flight was headed for Las Vegas from New York City when it was diverted to Amarillo, Texas after the pilot started acting very oddly. The co-pilot of the plane locked the captain out of the cockpit after the man “exhibited erratic behavior.” The pilot then began banging on the cockpit door and demanding to be let in. According to passengers on the plane, the pilot was yelling that the throttle had to be pulled back and that the plane had to land.
Two flight attendants tried to get control of the pilot, but were having a very difficult time. Witnesses said that a half a dozen men or so from the back of the plane came to the front and wrestled the pilot to the floor. Within just a few moments, the pilot was subdued. Passengers said the entire scene seemed like something out of a movie.
There is a video of the skirmish in which several people at the front of the plane can be seen standing over the pilot on the floor of the plane. One of the men that helped subdue the pilot was Paul Babkitis. He is a retired police officer from New York. Babkitis said that he felt like the pilot would try to land the plane without a thought for the safety of the passengers if he was allowed back into the cockpit.
Authorities met the plane when it landed. The pilot was handcuffed and carried away. There were several passengers that said the pilot talked about a “bomb” on the plane. Several of the passengers said that those who went to help the flight attendants should be considered heroes.
Another captain on the flight was allowed into the cockpit once the pilot was under control. The captain was off-duty, but landed the plane in Amarillo. The FBI and the Transportation Safety Administrationare both investigating the incident, as are the airport and Amarillo, Texas police.