2 Jan 2017

Pilot found drunk in Canadian cockpit

5:45 pm on 2 January 2017

A pilot who was drunk in the cockpit has been arrested shortly before take-off in Canada.

A Sunwing passenger jet can be seen above Trudeau Airport in Montreal, Canada on 3 July, 2016.

Stock photo of a Sunwing plane in Canadian airspace Photo: 123RF

Two hours after his arrest, the 37-year-old man was found to have more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his body.

His plane, part of the Sunwing budget airline, later left Calgary for Cancun, Mexico, with a different pilot. There were more than 100 people on board.

The incident happened at 7am local time on Saturday.

Airline staff noticed the pilot behaving strangely, and then he passed out. They alerted the authorities and the man was escorted from the cockpit.

He has been charged with being in charge of an aircraft while being impaired.

Calgary police have named him as Miroslav Gronych, 37, a Slovak national.

Police spokesman Paul Stacey said: "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.

"There's the other flight crew and there's gate crew and they're all about safety.

"So, I'm not surprised that he got caught before [the plane] left the terminal."

But Mr Stacey said: "He won't be flying anytime soon."

Separately, in Indonesia last week, footage emerged of an apparently drunk pilot staggering through airport security to his plane.

The pilot was sacked after the incident, and two senior airline executives resigned.