Officials remove baggage from JetBlue flight after a pilot caused the plane to make an emergency landing. Amarillo Globe News / Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — JetBlue Airways JBLU +2.54% on Wednesday suspended the captain whose erratic behavior caused an emergency landing of a flight from New York bound for Las Vegas.

Clayton Osbon was taken off active duty pending a review of the incident, JetBlue Airways spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said. Passengers wrestled Mr. Osbon to the ground after he began acting erratically, as a co-pilot shut him out of the cockpit and took command of the Tuesday morning flight.

The company’s chief executive and president Dave Barger told NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday that Mr. Osbon is a “consummate professional” whom he has “personally known” for years. Mr. Osbon has been a pilot for JetBlue since 2000.

There was nothing in the captain’s record to indicate he would be a risk on a flight, Mr. Barger said.

It was not clear if Mr. Osbon would face any criminal or civil charges for disrupting the flight.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was coordinating an investigation with the airport police, Amarillo police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Safety Administration, said agency spokeswoman Lydia Maese in Dallas.

“Clearly, he had an emotional or mental type of breakdown,” said Tony Antolino, a security executive who sat in the 10th row of the plane and tackled the pilot when he tried to re-enter the cockpit.

“He became almost delusional,” Mr. Antolino said after arriving in Las Vegas from Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport some six hours after schedule.

Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed “irate” and was “spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al Qaeda.”

The outburst came weeks after an American Airlines flight attendant was taken off a plane for rambling about 9/11 and her fears the plane would crash. John Cox, an aviation-safety consultant and former airline pilot, said he could recall only two or three cases in 40 years where a commercial pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight.


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