Police have confirmed that a pilot has been found drunk and passed out over his seat before takeoff.
Reports indicate that the pilot and captain of the Sunwing flight were found by the co-pilot on Saturday. The flight was heading to Cancun from Calgary with scheduled stops at Regina, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg.
The plane was carrying 99 passengers and six crew when Canadian Police boarded the plane on Saturday.
Alarm bells were raised when the crew noticed the pilot had been acting strangely. After being charged with having care and control of an aircraft while being impaired, he was escorted from the plane by police.
According to Sgt. Paul Stacey of Calgary Police, it is believed the pilot had over three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system. He added, “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 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 gate crew and they’re all about safety.”
A spokeswoman for Janine Massey told CNBC.com, “We can confirm that shortly before 7am local time, the gate agents, first officer and crew of Sunwing flight 595, departing from Calgary and destined for Cancun, determined that the captain was unfit to fly and reported this accordingly.
“We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority.”
In Canada, it is illegal for a member of a flight crew to work within eight hours of consuming alcohol. The plane eventually took off after a replacement Captain was found.
The drunken pilot was too drunk to face the justice of the peace, and authorities had to wait for him to sober up.