Passengers left shaken after JetBlue diversion
Passengers onboard JetBlue’s Flight 1261 from New York to Barbados this morning are breathing a sigh of relief after a frightening experience inflight when a male passenger started behaving erratically.
The pilot was forced to divert the aircraft to Bermuda and the passenger, said to be in his 20’s, was eventually restrained and carried off on a gurney. The plane eventually landed in Barbados at seven minutes to five this evening, with passengers thanking God for a safe arrival.
Many who spoke to Barbados TODAY, some of whom helped to restrain the young man, said it was a very terrifying experience that could have gone much worse.
“There was a kid [whom] I think was having a nervous breakdown and he was trying to get off the plane,” said a passenger, who chose to remain anonymous.
“We had to subdue him, then they diverted the plane to Bermuda, and they gave him medical attention. I was kind of confused as to what was going on, so once I figured out what was going on, it was all good.”
Daniel Smith, a Barbadian who was returning home for a summer vacation, was one who helped out. He recounted his experience and said he was glad to have assisted.
“I went to the bathroom and then I saw a guy who was crawling on the ground at rapid speed. Then, one of the stewards was like, ‘we need you to stay and restrain him from getting into the cockpit’ so it was like me and three other people,” Smith said.
“I held his upper body, his shoulders, neck and his arms. Then, one other guy held his arms and then someone held his legs and we restrained him. He had to go to Bermuda, police came on board, and then afterwards everybody was thanking me and thanking everybody that helped.”
“I didn’t feel like alarmed or startled. I could tell [that] he was more like insane in some form or fashion rather than dangerous, so I wasn’t really panicked,” Smith said, while joking that he hoped he received a free ticket for his bravery.
Jessica Golian, visiting the island for vacation, praised the flight crew for their good work.
“The flight attendants, the captain and the crew, everybody was very amazing, really calm. Everybody on the plane was really patient. I wasn’t scared, I felt bad for him, cause you could tell that he clearly had mental issues and didn’t take his medication.”
Shemmieque Holder said she was terrified once she realized what was happening.
“I was scared, honestly, because he was running to the cockpit. I was like, ‘oh my God, let me start typing out my will’. It was kind of scary because you know with the whole 9/11 [ September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US] that happened . . . my heart literally stopped beating,” Holder said.
Lebo Edge, who is visiting Barbados for the first time, said she was not too scared by the experience because she understood what was going on.
“I work in mental health so that was something I was able to identify, so it wasn’t scary for me. He clearly had a psychotic break. He went into the bathroom screaming and then he fell. He was kind of kicking and screaming. The flight attendants were not able to, so the others had to help him out,” she said.
Also on his first visit to Barbados, Lucas Heffron, who is travelling with his family for his sister’s destination wedding, said he was glad the situation was brought under control.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I just heard there was something going on back there and I heard over the speaker they wanted help, but I’m glad it was quickly brought under control,” Heffron said.
General Manager of Jet Blue, Terry Layne, told Barbados TODAY the displaced passengers on the outgoing flight that was scheduled to leave at 6 p.m. tonight were being accommodated.
“The outgoing flight for this evening has been cancelled. However, we have an extra flight which has already been set up to arrive into Barbados at 9:40 [p.m.] to leave at 10:40 [p.m.] to get the customers into New York tomorrow morning. The situation is handled. “ Layne said.
However, not all passengers were pleased with the news that the flight was cancelled.
“They are not giving any information. I’m supposed to be going to work tonight for 12 [midnight]. Initially, they told us we were going to be delayed two hours. We were just sitting down having a drink and when we got back, they told us the flight was canceled. It’s a lot of inconvenience,” said an irate Junior Israel.
“We overnighted last night. If I knew I was going to have this problem, I would have just gone straight, but I overnighted for my son to stay a little bit in Barbados. They told us they are going to take us to a hotel, which makes no sense,” he said.