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Canadian Pilot Arrested After He Passes Out Drunk in the Cockpit

A Canadian pilot was arrested Saturday after he was found drunk in a plane he was about to fly out of Calgary Airport in western Canada.

The crew and other airline staff found the 37-year-old man intoxicated shortly after 7 a.m. in the cockpit of a plane he was supposed to fly to Cancun, Mexico, AFP reported.

The flight crew noticed the pilot’s erratic behavior before he passed out in the cockpit, and then called the authorities.

Police said the pilot was escorted out of the plane and put in jail.

Authorities say the pilot had more than three times the legal limit of alcohol allowed (0.08 percent in Canada) in his system two hours after his arrest.

Miroslav Gronych of Slovakia was charged with one count of operating an aircraft while impaired, and one count of operating an aircraft with a blood alcohol level over 0.08, the Huffington Post Canada reported.

“It had all the potential for a disaster but I’ll tell you this much – 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,” police spokesman Paul Stacey said to BBC News.

A spokeswoman for Sunwing Airlines thanked the crew for dealing with this “very unfortunate matter,” according to local media.

Transport Canada spokesman Dan Dugas said that it is a crime for flight crew to work within eight hours of drinking alcohol or while under the influence.  He added that Transport Canada is investigating the incident.

The flight took off with another pilot in control of the Boeing 737 plane with 99 passengers and six crew members, including the pilot who was charged.

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