Two airline pilots arrested on plane for ‘alcohol abuse’

An airBaltic 737. Photo credit airBaltic via NBC News
An airBaltic 737. Photo credit airBaltic via NBC News

Two pilots of a Boeing 737 passenger jet were arrested for suspected “alcohol abuse” before they were due to take off in Norway, their airline said.

They were scheduled to fly 109 passengers on a four-hour journey from Oslo to the Greek island of Crete on Saturday when they were taken off the flight and into custody.

Two of the three cabin crew aboard the airBaltic jet were also arrested on suspicion their blood-alcohol was over the legal limit, the airline said in a statement. The third crew member has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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“Four out of five crew are under initial suspicion for alcohol abuse,” the statement said. “They are now undergoing a careful medical examination to determine the actual blood alcohol levels.”

Janis Vanags, a spokesman for the Latvian airline, told NBC News that the carrier immediately sent a replacement crew and the flight took off at 10:41 a.m. local time (4:41 a.m. ET) after a delay of four hours and 45 minutes.

Vanags said the airline had a “zero tolerance policy” and that the crew had been suspended pending the criminal investigation. “Safety is our number-one priority,” he added.

 

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