More details are emerging about yesterday’s in-flight freakout. Clayton Osbon, the flight captain whose erratic behavior forced an emergency landing in Texas, began “speaking incoherently” in the cockpit after telling his colleagues to “keep the chatter down” on the radio. From there, CBS reports, things only got worse. Osbon began messing around with the plane’s controls, improperly pressing buttons on the flight panel. After leaving the cockpit and heading to the restroom, he burst out yelling about Iran, bombs, Al Qaeda, and random numbers, before banging on the cockpit door, claiming that the plane was “going down.”
ABC News, after interviewing medical experts, claims that it’s very unlikely that Osbon — described by those who know him as a normal, diligent captain — suffered a panic attack, as originally reported. It’s more likely that the culprit was biological: a toxic reaction to a drug, stimulant, or infection. According to doctors, a brain tumor could also cause an extended delusional episode like Osbon’s.
The pilot is expected to face criminal charges within the next day.