USA Today reports that a JetBlue pilot was subdued by passengers after displaying erratic behavior during flight. The plane was flying from New York to Las Vegas, but was forced to land in Amarillo because the pilot became unexpectedly violent and threatened to blow up the plane.
Flight 191 was supposed to take passengers from New York to Las Vegas, but the plane was diverted to Texas because the pilot was not mentally capable of flying the aircraft. The co-pilot told FBI investigators that he noticed the captain was not feeling well, so he exited him from the cockpit in order to safely land the plane. According to the declarations of the co-pilot, the captain started screaming about Al-Qaeda, Iran and Iraq and declared that there was a bomb on the plane.
The co-pilot locked the door of the cabin, so they would not be disturbed by the ill crewmember while taking the plane to a safe landing area. The pilot tried to open the door, but passengers attacked and subdued him. Passengers told the press that they tried to take the ill pilot to the back of the plane, but he broke free and ran to the front of the aircraft. Several men on board wrestled the captain on the floor and the former New York City Department of Corrections officer, David Gonzalez, put him in a choke hold.
John Cox, the President of Safety Operation Systems, declared that the crewmembers are trained to avoid such incidents. He further added that the crewmembers are usually told how to deal with violent passengers, but they can use the same wrestling techniques on their own colleagues. In Cox’s opinion, the passengers on Flight 191 were not in danger because the co-pilot and the first officer know how to fly the plane and land it.
Despite this, people are concerned that captains don’t undergo enough psychological testing before they are allowed to fly planes. The procedure says that the pilot must receive a first-class medical certificate that is renewed each year through physical tests. Psychological tests are requested if the examiner thinks they are necessary.