JetBlue pilot's wife says husband "not intentionally violent"

AUSTIN, Texas Sun Apr 1, 2012 6:55pm EDT

Captain Clayton Osbon is removed from a JetBlue passenger jet in Amarillo, Texas in this March 27, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Steve Miller/The Reporters Edge/Files

Captain Clayton Osbon is removed from a JetBlue passenger jet in Amarillo, Texas in this March 27, 2012 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Miller/The Reporters Edge/Files

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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The wife of the JetBlue pilot who had a midair meltdown that triggered an emergency landing said on Sunday his family is focused on his recovery and thanked those on the flight for their professionalism after being put in "an awful situation."

Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, last Tuesday, following what authorities described as erratic behavior by Capt. Clayton Osbon, who allegedly ran through the cabin before passengers tackled him in the galley.

He screamed incoherently about religion and terrorists, witnesses said in court documents.

"It is our belief, as Clayton's family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent toward anyone," said a statement by Connye Osbon on behalf of the Osbon family that was released by JetBlue on Sunday. "We know you were placed in an awful situation and we appreciate your ability to respond professionally."

Connye Osbon asked the media for privacy and said the family would not be granting interviews or making further statements. She said the family appreciated the public's concern.

"We hope you can empathize and understand that our focus completely surrounds Clayton's recovery and the path that lies immediately ahead," the statement said.

Connye Osbon also thanked the "kind and compassionate" staff of Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo.

Clayton Osbon awaits a court appearance in Amarillo on a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew. The 12-year JetBlue veteran was suspended while authorities investigate the incident, the airline said last week.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing By Colleen Jenkins)

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