Photo by Kevin P. Casey/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: The JetBlue captain who had to be subdued midair after becoming incoherent and disruptive, diverting a Las Vegas-bound flight to Texas for an emergency landing on Tuesday, has been identified.*
ABC News names the pilot as 49-year-old Clayton Osbon, who's been a commercial pilot since 1989, and with JetBlue since 2000.
JetBlue has remained somewhat quiet on the incident so far, with CEO Dave Barger saying only that the emergency landing was due to a "medical situation" that became a "security situation." Law enforcement officials, ABC News notes, believe Obson suffered from a panic attack.
The incident reportedly began when Obson began acting erratic during the flight. His co-pilot convinced him to leave the cockpit and locked the door behind him. But according to passengers on board, Obson's bizarre behavior continued, including somewhat incoherent shouts about al-Qaida and explosives.
Passengers on the plane—some of whom were on their way to a security conference—ultimately subdued him while he was attempting to re-enter the cockpit. They initially bound his wrists with zip-ties, which did not hold, and later used their belts to restrain him until landing. Previous reports suggested that the passengers used the plane's seat belts to bind the captain's hands.
Tuesday, March 27: A JetBlue plane made an emergency landing in Texas on Tuesday after passengers subdued one of its pilots who had apparently begun screaming about al-Qaida and bombs.
Passengers told the Amarillo Globe-News, the local paper in the town where the plane landed, that six to 10 passengers ultimately tackled the captain after he emerged from a restroom shouting "Iraq, al-Qaida, terrorism, we’re all going down." Fox News reports that the pilot was also heard shouting, "Say your prayers! Say your prayers!"
A federal official tells CBS News that the incident began when the captain became incoherent during the flight from New York to Las Vegas, prompting his co-pilot to convince him to leave the cockpit.
After a trip to the restroom, the captain attempted to re-enter by pounding on the locked cockpit door. His attempts were thwarted, however, by a former prison guard who grabbed him by the neck and choked him until he collapsed, according to one passenger's account. Passengers then tried binding the pilot’s wrists with a zip tie, but he broke it, so they used their seat belts to bind his arms.
In a statement released shortly after the incident, JetBlue said that the emergency landing was due to a "medical situation" involving the captain, and that an off-duty pilot who was on board the plane took over prior to the landing in Amarillo.
The captain, who has not yet been identified, was admitted to a medical facility in Texas.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Las Vegas.