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Drunk Pilot Passes Out In Cockpit Just Before Takeoff, Gets Arrested

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Ted Goodman Reporter

A 37-year-old pilot drank more than three times the legal limit, then got arrested for passing out in the cockpit prior to takeoff Saturday in Alberta, Canada.

Airline staff alerted authorities after the pilot passed out while sitting in the cockpit, according to the BBC. Crew members noticed that the pilot was “behaving strangely,” but did not notify authorities until he passed out.

The 737 aircraft, bound for Cancun, Mexico, had more than 100 people on board when the incident took place at 7:00 p.m. local time Saturday. The flight, operated by budget airline Sunwing, took off with another pilot after authorities escorted the impaired pilot from the aircraft.

The pilot, identified by Calgary police as Miroslav Gronych, is a 37-year-old Slovak national according to CNN. He has been charged with “being in charge of an aircraft while being impaired.”

“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 assured frequent fliers.

“There’s the other flight crew and there’s gate crew and they’re all about safety, Stacey said. “I’m not surprised that he got caught before (the plane) left the terminal.”

“He won’t be flying anytime soon,” Stacey concluded.

Sunwing apologized for the pilot’s behavior and commended the rest of the crew for their diligence in handling the, “very unfortunate matter.”

“We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority,” Sunwing said in a statement.

The Canadian-based low-cost carrier operates seasonal flights from Canada to warm-weather destinations such as Cancun throughout the winter months.

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