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Passengers sue JetBlue after pilot scare on N.Y.-to-Vegas flight

June 13, 2012|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

HOUSTON -- Ten passengers filed a lawsuit in New York on Wednesday against JetBlue Airways in connection with the incident in which a pilot had to be restrained after running through the cabin yelling during a New York-to-Las Vegas flight in March.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Queens, claims the airline was "grossly negligent" in allowing Capt. Clayton Osbon to fly, the Associated Press reported after obtaining a copy of the lawsuit.

Court clerks could not immediately locate or release the lawsuit Wednesday.

An airline spokeswoman said JetBlue was aware of the lawsuit but still reviewing it Wednesday. She said airline officials do not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit says passengers feared for their lives as Osbon ran through the cabin March 27 "yelling about September 11th, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and terrorists," according to the Associated Press.

Other comments from the pilot, according to the suit, included: "We're all going down,"  "You better start praying right now," "I'm going to show you Iraq and Iran right now," "There's a bomb on board" and ''The plane will never make it to Vegas."

Osbon was eventually subdued, and the jet made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.

The lawsuit alleges that JetBlue knew, or should have known, Osbon was unfit to pilot the plane.

The 10 plaintiffs, all from the New York City area, are seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress.

Osbon faces a hearing Friday morning in Amarillo to determine if he is competent to stand trial. He faces federal charges of interfering with a flight crew. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

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Join Molly on Google+ and Twitter @mollyhf. Email: molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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