Pilot arrested at MSP airport on suspicion of being under the influence

3:31 PM, Jan 5, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - An airport spokesman says an American Eagle pilot preparing for takeoff has been arrested after failing a blood-alcohol test at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The arrest report released Friday afternoon by airport police says officers and a TSA agent at Checkpoint 1 noticed the smell of alcohol when they passed by the pilot as he waited for an elevator.

Metropolitan Airport Spokesman Patrick Hogan says the pilot, a 48-year-old man from Raleigh, North Carolina, was conducting preflight checks shortly before 6:00 a.m. when officers boarded the plane, conducted a Breathalyzer test and arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol.

Passengers had not yet boarded the flight to La Guardia Airport in New York City.

The pilot was released to airline personnel on his own recognisance just before 10:30 a.m.

American Eagle and American Airlines are owned by the same parent company.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller says the pilot has been suspended pending an investigation. Miller says the airline is cooperating with authorities.

"American Eagle has a well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first," Miller said in a statement. "We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation. The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation."

Hogan says the pilot was taken to Fairview Southdale Medical Center for a blood test. Results of that test could take several weeks.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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