Charges Filed Against JetBlue Captain Suspected Of In-Flight Disturbance

By Jack Fink & Matt Goodman,
jetblue Charges Filed Against JetBlue Captain Suspected Of In Flight Disturbance

Emergency workers stand around the pilot of a JetBlue plane who was removed from his flight due to a medical issue. (Photo credit Steve Miller/The Reporter's Edge)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  Federal prosecutors in Dallas have filed a criminal complaint against the pilot accused of causing a disturbance on a JetBlue flight that had to be diverted to Amarillo Tuesday.

Clayton Osbon, 49, is facing a charge of knowingly interfering and attempting to interfere with the performance of the duties of a flight crew member and flight attendant of the aircraft.

According to the criminal affidavit, Osbon showed up late for the flight from New York to Las Vegas and missed the crew briefing. The affidavit says he wasn’t acting strangely before takeoff, but “as they were climbing out of JFK, Osbon said something to the (pilot) about being evaluated by someone.”

The pilot told investigators Osbon then began speaking about his church and how he needed to “focus.” The captain then made incoherent statements about religion, the affidavit says.

Osbon’s colleague told investigators he first became concerned after the captain said “things just don’t matter” before yelling over the radio at air traffic control to be quiet.

The affidavit then says Osbon turned off the radios and began dimming the monitors and scolded other pilots for attempting to speak with air traffic controllers.

The pilot told investigators he “became really worried” after Osbon declared “we need to take a leap of faith.” Soon after, the affidavit says the captain told the pilot “we’re not going to Vegas.”

After this, the affidavit says Osbon exited the cockpit and attempted to charge into an occupied bathroom. Another pilot slipped into the cockpit to take over Osbon’s duties, the affidavit says.

Passengers told reporters Tuesday that Osbon began exhibiting bizarre behavior just before realizing he had been locked out of the cockpit. Osbon allegedly began screaming “let me in” and banged on the door so hard the other pilots thought he was going to break through, the affidavit states.

The rest of the crew was concerned, the affidavit says, because Osbon disregarded security protocol upon leaving the cockpit.

He aggressively grabbed a flight attendant’s hand and then began banging on the occupied restroom, telling a passenger she needed to exit because he needed to use it, the affidavit says.

After leaving the lavatory, the affidavit says Osbon mentioned “150 souls on board.”

Colleagues tried to keep Osbon near the back of the plane, but he sprinted back up the cabin’s aisle after asking a male passenger “if he had a problem.”

Passengers said Osbon began yelling about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran and terrorists and asked them to “pray f––– now for Jesus Christ” before a flight attendant jumped on the intercom and asked for those onboard to “restrain him.”

The affidavit says the captain also yelled “Guys, push it to full throttle.”

Osbon was tackled to the floor and pinned until the plane landed in Amarillo. Flight 191 departed New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport about three-and-a-half hours before the disruption and was on its way to Las Vegas. The flight was scheduled to take five hours.

Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants is punishable by a $250,000 fine and/or up to 20 years in prison, according to this Federal Aviation Administration document.

JetBlue had already suspended the captain before he was charged. Osbon is currently being held at an in-state medical facility.

Late Tuesday afternoon, CBSDFW received this statement from the FAA:

This morning, at approximately 9:53 a.m. Central Time, a Jet Blue flight en route to Las Vegas from New York JFK International Airport was diverted to Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport for an onboard medical emergency.

Preliminary information indicates that after landing, it was learned that the co-pilot became concerned that the captain exhibited erratic behavior during the flight.  The captain had exited the cockpit during the flight, after which the co-pilot locked the door. When the captain attempted to enter the locked cockpit, he was subdued by passengers.  After the flight landed safely, local law enforcement secured the pilot without incident, and he was transported by ambulance for medical evaluation.

The aircraft was towed to the terminal building and the passengers were safely deplaned from the aircraft. Passengers are currently awaiting continuation of their travel to Las Vegas.

The FBI, FAA, TSA and local law enforcement are coordinating on this incident.”

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  • dennis

    the guy was the can he interfere with himself???
    something happened to him…

    • Jack

      He interferred with the operation of an aircraft. One might assume that any airline passenger who interferes with the operation of an airline by harassing the crew should be assumed “nuts” and should not be charged with a Federal Crime. By that logic, an Al Qaeda suicide jihadist who hijacks a commercial airliner and is restrained by crew and passengers, should be sent to a psychiatric facility. One cannot assume, just because the perp is an Arab that he is sane. After all, only a brainwashed Arab would believe in the goals of Al Qaeda and want to act them out on an airline.

      • questor3000

        He is nuts, every action he has fits the classic DSM IIIIR class of symptoms has a schizoid break and loss of reality testing. And according to psychatric best practices qualifies as NOT GUILTY BY REASON of insanity. He also lunched into a tirade about christ returning, and yelled at ATC’s.His statements to his copilot were torally irrational. I wonder what his toxical screen is going to show. Jack, by your logical you would punish someone with cancer or heart disease. You probably would even punish a person who overdoses on sleeping pills in the bathroom of an aircraft and forces an emergency landing to get the person to the hospital for a gastric lavage to evacuate the stomach contents. You are totally uneducated regarding brain disorders, have a rigid personality and areJudgemental. Let him be fired, have his FAA certifications removed and let him seek treatment. The criminal justice system is no place for insane and the seriously persisent mental illness people. Did you know two weeks ago a JB flight attendent went nuts, and in Janurary another JB pilot lost it. Did you know that JB violates FAA health regulations regarding hour flown and required rest patens.

      • StopTheLies

        Another orchestrated event. Unelected officials took over Washington and the media after the coup and cover up. Even most of the comments online are financed with your tax dollars. Big brother is trying to create the perception of public opinion while burying the truth. They think you can’t handle the truth. Fact of the matter is we have no democracy, president, and freedom of press is an illusion.

        Our next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she’s not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren’t in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out.

        Search PalinsDirtyLittleSecret for the biggest cover up ever.

    • bvdon

      I agree… why would any reasonable person want to jail someone who had a mental breakdown especially when nobody was hurt. The guy needs help.

      • Jack

        Let me understand you. A jerk tries to run over pedestrians on the sidewalk. The .pedestrians see him coming and get out of the way just in time.. No one is injured. The driver should be forgiven and the pedestrians should chip in and buy him a new car.

      • questor3000

        No matter what he will never fly again.

      • Robin

        I agree. The man needs help, not a prison cell. How cruel are we allowing this government to be?

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  • JoeMamafo

    There is more to this story than being reported. There is a reason why this pilot did not want to land in Las Vegas, and that reason once discovered, will splain the whole incident.

    • AlexR

      Say what????? And you know this from your crystal ball?

      • ReggieJ

        Pretending to be Alex Rodriquez, gives you -zero- cred, bro. Go back to the bong.

  • Chuck

    By all indications this captain suffered from a mental breakdown, a common side effect of many prescription drugs. He needs a medical evaluation, not a criminal complaint filed against him.

    • richmondtommy

      I agree with you Chuck. Something had to be wrong with him, what is up with people charging him criminally?

  • Avoicenmany

    I have to agree with Chuck. This man had a mental issue, he was not acting in a rational manner help is needed not a jail term. But out DOJ will go after him ot show their teeth instead of actually doing the correct thing.

  • Concerned

    He needs help, There is things that are not being said or kept hush hush that is causing these people to freak out…Do not Charge him, Charge the airline! He was kept detained by passengers, He didnt harm anyone but himself. Help Him…Don’t Charge Him

    • lpc

      the guy must have had a nervous breakdown.beside himself psychotic episode

  • amg0327

    How do we know this is a mental illness? Has he ever exhibited signs of mental illness prior to this incident? How do we know it was not an illegal drug that caused him to act crazy? Maybe he was “trippin” which is why they are now charging him with a crime.

  • Mike g

    This is nothing more than posturing by the prosecutor. It is clear that this guy had some sort of mental breakdown.

  • Righty McTighty

    The guy obviously had a religious experience in mid-air. Therefore this prosecution (persecution) is another obvious attempt of the Obama administration to silence the Christian community.

    • The Bruce

      Have the results of your toxicology report come in yet?

    • lcs

      Good try, but the stupid comment of the year award has already been given.

  • Danielle

    I am shocked after reading all the stories on this that they have charged him with a crime, sounds like he had a breakdown. He should not be charged.

    • The Bruce

      What we’re not hearing about is a toxicology report. He may have been drugged.

  • Steve

    Ridiculous and a waste of money to charge him with a crime. He’s sick. That is not a crime. This shouldn’t even be in the news. It is a non-story. Lots of people have these kinds of breakdowns, even police officers.

  • Gloria

    He needs medical help, not jail time.

  • lpc

    I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offences at my beck than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all.

    ah Billy Shakespeare somehow begins to give tongue to madness’s torment. this poor fellow has lost all moorings. i really do pity him. complete and utter vertigo. i’ve seen men inhabiting that region. dunno if they ever come back to terra firma. Give ’em dope and they seem to cope as zombies. oftentimes religious spirits and madness go hand in hand as is readily apparent here. ‘Tis religion that killed Christ, ’tis religion that killed Able:

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  • Paul Mason

    It seems most likely that the Captain’s coffee was spiked with a Hallucinogen such as “ACID”, or that he had a stroke or other problem. I hope the cops check his coffee cup, and check his blood for Hallucinogens.

    This is a medical problem, not a criminal problem.

    Although he may never be a Captain again, he obviously is innocent of any evil intention. Please pray for this poor man, as he deserves your sympathy.

    Please find the evil-doers that poisoned him.

    • sean

      Oh he most definitely (more than likely) was!! Why would someone who has such an innocent past all of a sudden scream and rant about religion and that they are all going to die?? Obviously if you are not a typical American idiot, you would clearly see that some kind of substance was in-play and it probably was intentional. Look at the Flight Attendant who lost her ‘mental stability’ on the American Airlines flight less than a month ago… You think that’s coincidence? Hell no it’s not. Wake up people, this is most likely an intentional plot.

      My dad works for United Airlines. I have been a passenger on a ton of flights since I was a young kid. I also fly simulators as a hobby. No one would go crazy like this randomly out of the (jet)blue. Anyway, I believe that someone or some group is to blame for this.

    • The Bruce

      I certainly agree that he may have been drugged. Something isn’t right here.

  • The Bruce

    This is certainly a bizarre story, and I thank God nobody was hurt. I would suggest that while charges might be required to be filed, that people take into account that this pilot obviously had some sort of mental breakdown. He may have even be drugged.

    I guess I can chalk this up as, “stories I never thought I’d read.”

  • Gene

    No matter what happens to him from a legal or medical standpoint, he should never be allowed to pilot an aircraft again..EVER!! This was more than a mental breakdown..he terrorized those passengers and made them fear for their lives..

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  • CJTO

    This is what America does – you can shoot an unarmed kid in Florida and get zero charges or jail time, but don’t have a mental break-down on a plane or you’re doin hard time!!!

    Society is sick and getting sicker.

  • louie

    Look at all the Drudgies defending this guy. haha. imagine the spiteful rage from them if he happened to be ranting about a different religion…

  • spark

    I would have kick that prick’s ass.

  • iambicpentamaster

    20 years with Blago?

    Seems like cruel and unusual punishment just for trying to kill a plane full of people.

  • Aj

    More BS drama headlines from the American liars, errrrrr media.
    He isn’t going to spend one day in jail. NOT ONE.

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