Passengers en route to an international security conference in Las Vegas apparently assisted in subduing a JetBlue Airways pilot after he began behaving erratically and was locked out of the cockpit.

The aircraft had been operating from New York JFK to Las Vegas as flight B6191 on 27 March when the incident prompted a diversion to the city of Amarillo, Texas.

One of the purported passengers, describing the situation to television reporters, said he had been in the third row of the cabin when the captain left the cockpit, seemingly disturbed, and shortly afterwards began shouting about Iraq, Iran, explosives and making other alarming statements.

The passenger then said the pilot attempted to re-enter the cockpit - locked by a coded security system - but was tackled by a group of passengers who then restrained him.

Several passengers on the flight, coincidentally, had been security specialists travelling to the ISC West 2012 conference in Las Vegas.

Video images said to have been taken on board the aircraft show several passengers gathered in the aisle, while a few travellers are pictured crouched as they took control of the situation.

Another JetBlue pilot was reportedly deadheading on the flight and was recruited to help the remaining pilot on the flight deck.

The nature of the pilot's condition, and the reasons for his behaviour, are not known but JetBlue reportedly stated that the aircraft diverted to Amarillo for a medical situation, and local reports indicate the pilot was receiving hospital treatment.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news