A FLIGHT captain had to be tackled by his own passengers after he ran up and down a packed jet reportedly screaming about "bombs" and "al-Qaeda" in a terrifying mid-air outburst.
PLANE diverted due to what was described as a 'medical situation' involving the captain
The JetBlue plane, en route to Las Vegas, was forced into an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, as the ranting pilot was pinned down.
Passengers became aware of the incident when the co-pilot locked the captain out of the flight deck because he was so concerned about his colleague's erratic behavior.
The captain then began running up and down the aisle screaming,"Say your prayers!", prompting a panicked plea for help from a flight attendant.
Several passengers jumped out of their seats and tackled the pilot, holding him down on the floor for about 15 minutes until the plane landed safely.
Laurie Dhue, a former Fox News anchor who was on board, said passengers could hear the pilot using the words "Afghanistan" and "Israel" during the tirade.
She said one passenger also reported hearing the word "bomb". "It was so scary," she said.
Tiffany Le, a 26-year-old Las Vegas resident, said. "People around me were freaking out a little bit. The girl next to me was saying, 'Oh my God, what if I never talk to my fiance again?'."
Another passenger, Grant Heppes, said the pilot had reportedly said: "We got Iraq, we got Iran."
Grainy YouTube footage, purportedly taken by one passenger aboard the flight after its landing, showed a scrum at the front of the plane as an attendant reminded them to stay seated and scolded people for taking video.
In a statement, the airline described the incident as a "medical situation involving the captain".
It added that another captain, who was on board but not on duty at the time, entered the flight deck "prior to landing at Amarillo and took over the duties of the ill crewmember once on the ground".
JetBlue said the incident occurred roughly three-and-a-half hours into the flight and that when the plane landed in Amarillo, the crewmember was removed from the aircraft and taken to a medical facility.