Pilot fails alcohol breath test at Minneapolis airport, arrested

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 04, 2013 1:55 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - An American Eagle pilot preparing for a flight to New York on Friday morning was arrested on board an aircraft at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, an airport spokesman said.

"The pilot was in the process of doing the pre-flight check and a witness had smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath," airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.

Hogan said airport police arrested the pilot at 6:19 a.m.. He failed a breath test administered by airport police and was taken to a local hospital for a blood alcohol test, Hogan said. Results of the blood test could take weeks.

Hogan did not know the results of the breath test. In Minnesota, the blood alcohol threshold for pilots is 0.04, half of what it would be for a motorist, he added.

American Eagle, a regional carrier for AMR Corp's American Airlines, was operating Flight No. 4590 to New York's LaGuardia Airport.

"We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation," American Eagle said in a statement. "The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation."

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)