Canadian police have charged a pilot for Sunwing Airlines with impairment after he was allegedly found passed out over his seat before takeoff early Saturday.
Calgary Police said the pilot boarded the Boeing 737 with 99 passengers and six crew members in Calgary for a flight that was scheduled to make stops in Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg before continuing on to Cancun.
The gate crew as well as crewmembers on the aircraft indicated he was behaving strangely. Police allege the copilot found the pilot passed out in the cockpit.
Calgary Police Sgt. Paul Stacey said at a press conference:
“The copilot went and found the pilot in the cockpit, presumably preparing for the flight. We were called and then we took that pilot into custody. He was showing signs of impairment, enough so that the gate crew were concerned and then they found him actually slumped over in the pilot’s seat.”
Sunwing Airlines said in a statement:
“We can confirm that shortly before 7 a.m. 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.
“The Captain was immediately escorted off of the aircraft and the incident is now under investigation with local authorities. We are very appreciative of our crew’s diligence in handling this very unfortunate matter in accordance with procedures. We were able to secure a new Captain and are pleased to report that our customers are now en route to their destination after experiencing a minimal delay.
“We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority.