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Cabin crew called police to arrest BA first officer

January 30, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Armed police turned up at London Gatwick airport, arrested a pilot and removed him from the cockpit of a British Airways B777 aircraft preparing for a long-haul flight – because cabin crew suspected the man was drunk.

The incident last week  ended with the suspect being removed from the flight deck in handcuffs, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported.

Shocked passengers watched as armed officers boarded the plane at Gatwick Airport, the paper said.

Cabin crew had allegedly smelled alcohol and feared one of the pilots might be under the influence. They phoned police on the British emergency number to impart their suspicions. They had the welfare of the flight to think about – and their own.

Flight BA 2063 was due to take off on an 11-hour journey to Mauritius.

London’s Sun newspaper quoted a passenger: “Cops rushed onto the plane and headed straight for the cockpit.

“The first officer was cuffed and led away. A number of passengers were open-mouthed. It’s terrifying to think what might’ve happened.”

The flight was delayed a couple of hours until a replacement pilot was found.

Sussex Police confirmed they had been called at 8.25pm to Gatwick Airport South Terminal Gate 17.

A 49-year-old man, from Harmondsworth, West London, had been arrested, they said.

A British Airways spokesman said the airline was taking the matter “extremely seriously” and was helping police with their inquiries.

“We are sorry for the delay to our customers. The aircraft remained at the gate until an alternative third pilot joined the flight crew. The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority.”

Written by Peter Needham

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