Calgary, Canada – A Sunwing airline pilot has been taken into custody after being found intoxicated in the cockpit of a flight bound for Cancun.
In a news conference, Calgary Staff Sargent, Paul Stacey, reported airline crew noticing the pilot “behaving oddly, before he became unconscious in the cockpit”.
According to police, the pilot boarded Sunwing Airline 737-800 just before 7:00 a.m. on December 31. The aircraft had 99 passengers plus crew on board. The co-pilot found the pilot unconscious in the cockpit just before the plane was scheduled for take off.
The pilot, 37-year-old Miroslav Gronvch, was taken into custody and charged with having care and control of an aircraft with a blood alcohol level over .08. His blood-alcohol was found to have more than three times the legal limit.
Sunwing Airlines said a new pilot was arranged for the flight and despite delays, passengers were on route to their destinations around 2 p.m.
“We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority,” the airline said in the statement.
However, Sunwing passengers say they were never notified as to the reason for the extensive delay, saying it was not until they began to see social media posts about the pilot being removed from their plane that they realized what was going on.
Transport Canada spokesman, Dan Dugas, said it is a criminal offence in Canada for a flight crew to work within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence.