SALEM, Ohio (KDKA) — The town of Salem, Ohio, is an unlikely community to be thrust into the spotlight.
The sudden influx of national media is all for an unlikely hometown hero, JetBlue co-pilot Jason Dowd.
He has received a wave of overnight fame and praise for how he handled a volatile and unusual situation on board flight 191.
“He called very shortly after it happened and a very short conversation that he was just okay and that there had been a problem on the plane,” William Kostel, Dowd’s father-in-law, said.
According to court documents, pilot Clayton Osbon, a graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, became increasingly incoherent on Tuesday.
Osborn told Dowd, “We have to take a leap of faith.”
That’s when Dowd contacted air traffic control.
“JetBlue 191. We’re going to have to go to Amarillo declaring an emergency at this time. We’re going to need priority to get into Amarillo and we’re going to need and we’re going to need a few minutes to get everything straightened out.”
Osborn was locked out of the cockpit and wrestled to the ground by passengers while Dowd diverted the flight.
“He’s a great guy,” Kostel said. “I think just about one of the best son-in-law’s I could have. Give you the shirt off his back if you want it.”
JetBlue has also praised Dowd’s actions, along with crew members and an off-duty pilot who stepped in.