Boozing Altitude: Pilot Found Passed Out Drunk in Cockpit Before Takeoff: Cops
The pilot of a Canadian airliner bound for Mexico was allegedly "severely impaired by alcohol," Calgary police say.
The pilot of a Canadian flight bound for Mexico over the weekend was arrested after police say he was so drunk prior to departure that he lost consciousness in the cockpit.
According to Calgary Police, Capt. Miroslav Gronych was scheduled to pilot a Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737 Saturday morning with 99 passengers aboard and six flight crewmembers under his charge.
But prior to departure, cops say the gate crew and crew aboard the flight noticed the 37-year-old Slovakian national was exhibiting odd behavior.
He was later found unconscious in the cockpit, police said in a statement. Gronych was escorted from the aircraft and taken into custody by Calgary police.
"Initial tests conducted by police indicate the pilot was severely impaired by alcohol," police said.
Gronych, who lives in Canada on a work visa, has been charged with having care and control of an aircraft while impaired.
Following his arrest, police said the pilot's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit to operate a vehicle.
A Calgary Police Department spokesman said that while the incident is shocking, no one was likely to have been hurt as a result of Gronych alleged drunkenness.
"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," Calgary Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey told CBC News.
Sunwing Airlines has also spoken out on the incident in a Facebook post that called Gronych "unfit to fly."
"The Captain was immediately escorted off of the aircraft and the incident is now under investigation with local authorities," the statement read. "We are very appreciative of our crew’s diligence in handling this very unfortunate matter in accordance with procedures. We were able to secure a new Captain and are pleased to report that our customers are now en route to their destination after experiencing a minimal delay.
"We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority."
Gronych is set to appear in court on Thursday.
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