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JetBlue captain suspended, charged with crew interference

March 28, 2012 9:49:40 PM PDT
One day after being taken off his plane in a wheelchair, JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon was charged with interfering with a flight crew.

JetBlue spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said earlier Wednesday that Osbon had been suspended pending a review of the flight.

The Justice Department says Osbon showed up late for his flight from New York to Las Vegas on Tuesday. Inside the cockpit, he allegedly made incoherent comments about religion, saying "Things just don't matter." He also turned off all radios, dimmed the monitors and told his co-pilot "We're not going to Vegas."

Osbon then headed for the passenger compartment and the co-pilot locked the cabin door and changed the code security code, keeping him from getting back in.

Those on board say Osbon came out of the bathroom behaving oddly, foaming at the mouth and ranting about a bomb on board.

Passengers wrestled Osbon to the ground and an off-duty JetBlue pilot who happened to be on board helped land the plane. Several men, many en route to a security specialist convention in Las Vegas, sat on Osbon until landing in Texas. They also used their belts to restrain him after he broke free of plastic zip ties.

Many passengers expressed surprise that there is no official psychological screening program of U.S. airline pilots.

"It's not formal in any way. It's kind of a neural network of which we're all aware of everybody else, and sometimes maybe it needs to be reaffirmed that people need to be careful about when they see something a little bit erratic," said aviation expert John Nance.

Osbon was recovering Wednesday in a Texas hospital and will likely be released later in the week.

During another in-flight incident Wednesday, a woman on a U.S. Airways flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Fort Myers, Fla., had to be restrained after allegedly attacking crew members and spitting at them. An off-duty sheriff's deputy who was on board helped tackle 50-year-old Peggy Albedhady-Sanchez, who was restrained and placed in hand ties. She faces charges of battery and interfering with the operation of an aircraft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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