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US flight grounded for “medical situation”, after crew member displays erratic behaviour

A flight from New York to Las Vegas was grounded after the captain allegedly began shouting about a bomb on board, say passengers.

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JetBlue flight 191 from New York made an emergency landing with 135 passengers on board at Amarillo in Texas, as the result of a “medical situation”.

A crew member reported to be the captain had to be restrained and locked out of the aircraft’s cockpit, leaving passengers “shocked and confused”.

Passengers said that the captain had suddenly begun to shout about Afghanistan and al-Qaeda and mentioned a bomb about three-and-a-half hours into the flight – one passenger said that he had to put the captain in a headlock to try and restrain him.

A man in a JetBlue uniform was seen to walk to the back of the plane from the cockpit, and had to be restrained when he tried to re-enter and became disruptive. The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot had locked the man out of the plane after he began to exhibit “erratic behaviour”.

Another passenger said they heard the man shout: “I need the code, gimme the code, I need to get in there.

The pilot of the plane allegedly used the aircraft’s public address system to call for someone to restrain the captain and he was wrestled to the ground by a number of male passengers.

Police and the FBI officers were called to the aircraft and the captain was taken off in Texas, after the pilot decided to make an emergency landing. All the passengers were interviewed by officials and a new aircraft then took passengers on to Las Vegas.

The captain was reportedly stretchered off and taken away by ambulance to a medical centre.

The incident is being investigated by the FBI, Amarillo police, airport police and US transport safety agencies.

An Air Canada co-pilot suffered a mental breakdown on a flight from Toronto to London in 2008 and had to be sedated – the flight made an emergency landing in Ireland, but all passengers on board were safe.

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Dated: 02/04/2012

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