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JetBlue Pilot Charged With Interfering With Crew

By RUSS BYNUM and DANNY ROBBINS 03/28/12 05:23 PM ET AP

Jetblue Captain

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. — A JetBlue Airways captain who sprinted through the cabin of a Las Vegas-bound flight screaming about terrorists, Jesus and Sept. 11 was charged Wednesday with interfering with a flight crew, federal authorities said.

Captain Clayton Osbon told his co-pilot that "things don't matter" shortly after JetBlue Flight 191 from New York departed Tuesday, according to an affidavit. Court documents say Osbon told the plane's first officer that "we're not going to Vegas" and began what he described as a sermon.

"The (first officer) became really worried when Osbon said `we need to take a leap of faith,'" according to the sworn affidavit given by an FBI agent. "Osbon started trying to correlate completely unrelated numbers like different radio frequencies, and he talked about sins in Las Vegas."

Passengers wrestled Osbon to the ground after he left the cockpit and later sprinted down the cabin yelling and urging everyone to pray. The plane made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas. No one on board was seriously hurt.

The charges against Osbon, 49, were filed in Texas. The resident of Richmond Hill, Ga., was being held Wednesday at Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo and remains under a medical evaluation.

Under federal law, a conviction for interference with a flight crew or attendants can bring up to 20 years in prison. The offense is defined as assaulting or intimidating the crew, interfering with its duties or diminishes its ability to do operate the plane.

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Filed by Kate Auletta  |