A Jetblue airline was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday (March 27), after the pilot experienced a possible panic attack mid-flight from New York to Las Vegas, and had to be restrained.
Panic attacks are periods of intense fear or apprehension that are of sudden onset and relatively brief duration. They usually begin abruptly, reach a peak within 10 minutes, and subside over the next several hours (Wikipedia: Panic attack).
According to passengers on the plane, a man in a JetBlue uniform (the pilot) was acting strangely when returning from the toilet. After he realized his co-pilot locked him out of the cockpit, he lost control of himself and began running up and down the isles screaming "They're going to take us down. They're going to take us down. Say the Lord's prayer."
"He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down," said one passenger.
The incident takes place just two weeks after an American Airlines flight attendant was taken off a plane for rambling about Sept. 11 and her fears the plane would crash. An aviation expert who spoke on the incident could remember only two or three cases in 40 years where a pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight. (see video)