NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon was facing federal charges and still recovering from his headline-making meltdown. After nearly a week of crisis and confusion, his wife released a statement defending him, pleading for privacy and thanking everyone on board the flight from Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas.
Passengers said Osbon grew increasingly incoherent, going up and down the aisles ranting about terror threats and the plane going down.
“I’m looking at this happening and he’s getting more and more violent,” said passenger Mark Sellouk.
Co-pilot Jason Dowd was hailed a hero for getting Osbon out of the cockpit, locking the door, and taking command. He called an off-duty pilot to help him fly the plane and told passengers to restrain the captain, which they did.
On the ground in Texas, Osbon was removed and seen by doctors with Northwest Texas Healthcare System.
In a statement, the pilot’s wife thanked the medical team but saved her highest praise for the crew and passengers, whom she describes as “effective yet compassionate.”
“We know you were placed in an awful situation and we appreciate your ability to respond professionally,” wrote Connye Osbon. “It is our belief, as Clayton’s family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent toward anyone.”
She said this will be her only statement, and family members will not grant interviews as they focus on Osbon’s recovery.
Captain Osbon was charged with interfering with a crew. If convicted he faces 20 years in prison.
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