Pilot found drunk passed out in cockpit, police allege

By wires, News Corp Australia Network, Staff writers

The pilot allegedly passed out drunk in the cockpit of a Boeing 737. Photo / Flickr Creative Commons, Heads Up Aviation
The pilot allegedly passed out drunk in the cockpit of a Boeing 737. Photo / Flickr Creative Commons, Heads Up Aviation

Police claim a pilot who was allegedly passed out drunk was more than three times the legal limit.

According to police the pilot boarded the Boeing 737, operated by Sunwing Airlines, with 99 passengers and six crew in Calgary Alberta bound for Cancun, Mexico.

However as the plane readied for takeoff, police said crew members on the plane noticed he was behaving strangely and advised authorities.

Police alleged the co-pilot found the pilot passed out in the cockpit.

"They found him slumped over in the seat. He was the captain," Calgary Sergeant Paul Stacey said.

The pilot was escorted from the plane, He has been charged with having care and control of an aircraft while being impaired, and having a blood-alcohol level exceeding .08 while in care and control of an aircraft. Police claim the pilot had three-times the legal blood-alcohol level.

"Because he has as much alcohol in his system as he does, they're going to wait for him to sober up somewhat before he goes before a justice of the peace," Stacey said.

Police said the pilot's name will be released after he has appeared in court.

Sunwing spokeswoman Janine Massey praised the rest of the crew for handling what she called a "very unfortunate matter".

"We can confirm that the gate agents, first officer and crew of Sunwing flight 595, departing from Calgary and destined for Cancun, determined that the captain was unfit to fly and reported this accordingly," Massey stated.

Sunwing, a low cost Canadian carrier, said the plane took off a short time later with another captain.

"We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority," Massey said.

Stacey said Transport Canada has been contacted and the suspect could face additional charges.

"It had all the potential for a disaster but the likelihood of a pilot on a major airline like this actually being able to take off when they're impaired like that is pretty slim, because there's a lot of checks and balances. There's the other flight crew and there's gate crew and they're all about safety," he said.

The news comes just days after an Indonesian pilot resigned after allegedly flying drunk.

- news.com.au

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