JetBlue Pilot Removed From Flight After Threatening to Hurt Himself
Reports that a heartbroken JetBlue pilot threatened to crash a plane he was scheduled to fly out of Boston on Thursday are misleading, according to a statement made by George Naccara, the airport's federal safety director.
Boston Logan; dsearis, flickr
The pilot, who is unnamed, was hospitalized yesterday after being pulled from a flight leaving from Logan Airport. Officials report that he threatened to harm himself, and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Earlier reports alleged that the pilot was pulled from the flight after e-mailing his ex-girlfriend, threatening to crash the plane if she did not reconcile with him.
"He never threatened crashing the aircraft. It was a situation in which he was threatening to take his own life and, in fact, his words were he may do it in 'some spectacular fashion' but not anything to do with the aircraft and no reference to crashing the aircraft or harming anyone else other than himself," Naccara told the Boston-based radio station WBZ Radio.
Naccara also commended the pilot's ex-girlfriend, who is a flight attendant, saying she "did the right thing" by telling authorities.
The pilot was removed from the pilot's lounge around 1:30pm Thursday, an hour before his scheduled flight, for what JetBlue named as "health-related reasons." Police confronted the pilot, where they found he had a gun, State Police spokesman David Procopio told the Associated Press on Friday.
Procopio could not disclose details regarding the gun and whether or not it was loaded, but did note that the pilot would not be charged with illegal possession of a firearm, suggesting he might be a member of a post-9/11 program that arms and deputizes pilots called the Federal Flight Deck Officers program.
JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin told CBS affiliate, WBZ-TV, "At no point were any customers or aircraft in danger." The airline branded the report about the threat to crash the plane "vicious rumor and speculation."
"He is not in custody, he will not be flying, of course, and other actions will be taken by JetBlue and also by the FAA," Naccara told WBZ.