Pilot discovered drunk moments before take-off

A pilot was found drunk in the cockpit minutes before take-off.
A pilot was found drunk in the cockpit minutes before take-off. Photo credit: iStock

Passengers on a flight out of Germany were left stranded after police discovered the pilot was drunk just before take-off.

The flight was grounded on Friday (local time) after a Stuttgart airport employee witnessed the pilot "reeking of alcohol and walking unsteadily", according to a police statement.

The employee alerted airport authorities and police entered the cockpit, where they found the 40-year-old co-pilot in a "highly intoxicated condition". He had already begun preparing to fly the aircraft, local media reports.

After testing showed the pilot had a high blood alcohol level, his flying licence was immediately suspended and he was detained with bail set at €10,000 (NZ$17,089).

The flight, which was carrying 106 passengers bound for Lisbon, was cancelled. The airline, TAP Air Portugal, apologised for the pilot's "incapacity" via Twitter.

All passengers were put up at hotels but would not be able to fly to Lisbon until Monday as there were no seats available over the weekend, reports The Guardian.

TAP Air Portugal said it would be launching an internal investigation into the incident.


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