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Co-Pilot Of JetBlue Flight 191 Hailed As Hero After Captain’s Meltdown

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Co-Pilot Jason Dowd (credit: Personal Photo)

Co-Pilot Jason Dowd (credit: Personal Photo)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was his voice and quick thinking that sounded the alarm on JetBlue Flight 191 — and now we know the identity of the hero in the cockpit.

Co-pilot Jason Dowd, an Ohio native, was identified Thursday for the first time since Tuesday’s meltdown by pilot Clayton Osbon on the flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Las Vegas, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Dowd’s family members, including his brother-in-law in Ohio, said they’re proud of his heroic acts. His father-in-law, William Kosta, said Dowd called home shortly after the incident.

“Very short conversation that he was just okay and that there had been a problem on the plane,” Kosta said.

The veteran pilot is a husband and father of two who still lives in the same town he grew up in — Salem, Ohio.

Dowd hasn’t been home yet because he’s still being interviewed by federal investigators.

The FBI affidavit charges Osbon with the federal offense of interfering with a flight crew. While the affidavit doesn’t identify Dowd by name, it details his statements to investigators about Osbon.

Dowd said Osbon “Initially…did not exhibit any bizarre behavior,” but later began fidgeting with the controls, yelling over the radio, and saying things like “things just don’t matter,” “we need to take a leap of faith” and more ominously, “we’re not going to Vegas.”

It was Dowd who took action after Osbon left to cockpit to use the bathroom, calling for another off-duty pilot on board to help him fly the plane.

He also alerted flight attendants, who put certain passengers on standby to intervene, and then locked the cockpit door, going so far as to change the security combination.

Osbon was then tackled by volunteer passengers who used their own weight and seat belt extenders to restrain him.

Meanwhile, investigators now have the flight data recorders from Osbon’s meltdown. The NTSB was expected to download the tapes on Friday.

If convicted, Osbon could face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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