Bloomberg News

JetBlue Pilot’s Family Says He Meant No Harm

April 01, 2012

The wife of JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU:US) Captain Clayton Osbon, who was subdued by passengers while his plane was in flight last week, said the family is declining interviews and they don’t believe he intended to hurt anyone.

Connye Osbon asked the media to respect its privacy and said the family won’t be granting any interviews or making any further public comments, according to the statement released by JetBlue on the family’s behalf.

“We would like to recognize the crew and passengers of Flight 191 for their effective yet compassionate handling of the situation,” the family’s statement said. “It is our belief, as Clayton’s family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent toward anyone. We know you were placed in an awful situation and we appreciate your ability to respond professionally.”

The captain began acting erratically during a flight from New York on March 27 and was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot as the plane, JetBlue Flight 191, was diverted to Texas.

Osbon, 49, was tackled and sat upon by passengers when he tried to re-enter the cockpit after briefly stepping out, the company and federal officials said. An off-duty pilot, who had entered the cockpit while Osbon was gone, helped land the Las Vegas-bound flight in Amarillo, Texas.

Osbon is being treated at Northwest Texas Healthcare System hospital in Amarillo. He faces as many as 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after being charged with interfering with the plane’s flight crew, U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana said in a statement last week.

‘Leap of Faith’

The JetBlue pilot is being evaluated after he turned off the plane’s radios, dimmed his monitors and told the first officer on board that “we need to take a leap of faith,” according to court documents.

After the plane left John F. Kennedy International Airport, Osbon “started trying to correlate completely unrelated numbers like different radio frequencies, and he talked about sins in Las Vegas,” according to court filings. “At some point, Osbon told the first officer, ‘We’re not going to Vegas.’ He then began giving what the first officer described as a sermon,” according to the filing.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • JBLU
    (JetBlue Airways Corp)
    • $10.77 USD
    • -0.14
    • -1.25%
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