A JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, on Tuesday after the captain "exhibited erratic behavior" and was locked out of the cockpit, authorities said.
The plane's co-pilot, concerned by the behavior, locked the door behind the captain when he left the cockpit during the flight, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Passengers described to CNN what happened next.
"The pilot ran to the cockpit door, began banging on it and said something to the effect of, 'We've gotta pull the throttle back. We've gotta get this plane down,'" said Laurie Dhue.
"At that point, the two flight attendants tried to subdue him, and then seemingly out of nowhere, about six or seven large guys stormed to the front of the plane and wrestled the captain of the plane down to the ground and had him subdued in a matter of moments. It was really like something out of a movie," she said.
Amateur video of the incident showed several people clustered together toward the front of the plane. Some appeared to be standing over something, or someone, presumably the subdued pilot.
Paul Babkitis, another passenger and a retired New York police officer, said he was one of the men who helped wrestle the pilot to the ground.
"I felt if he got in the cockpit, he was going to try to take that plane down, and not for a safe landing," he said.
Law enforcement met the aircraft, cuffed the pilot and carried him off the plane, Babkitis said.
He and other passengers reported hearing the man say the word "bomb" at one point.
Passenger Tom Murphy hailed the other people in the cockpit as heroes.
Jet Blue Flight 191 left New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport at 7:28 a.m.
"At roughly 10 a.m. CT/11 a.m. ET, the pilot in command elected to divert to Amarillo, Texas, for a medical situation involving the captain. Another captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo and took over the duties of the ill crew member once on the ground," JetBlue said.
The crew member was taken off the plane and transported to a medical facility, it added.
FBI Special Agent Lydia Maese said the FBI responded to the incident and is coordinating with Amarillo and airport police, the FAA and the Transportation Safety Administration.
"Since it's a pending investigation at this point we really can't comment any more," she said.