A British Airways pilot has been removed from the cockpit of a flight before take-off on suspicions that he is drunk.
Worried airline workers alerted the police before the flight in Gatwick left for Mauritius.
The police then rushed on the plane and went straight to the cockpit. The pilot suspected to be drunk was cuffed and led away.
The flight was packed with up to 300 passengers and crew members onboard. Airline workers told the authorities that they could smell booze on the said pilot. The workers said they were worried about the safety of the passengers if the flight takes off with the potentially drunk pilot onboard.
Passengers were surprised by the incident, as some expressed shock as to what could have happened if not for the quick intervention of the other workers, and the fast and decisive response of the police.
Sussex police say the pilot was a 49-year-old-man from west London. He was arrested “on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the prescribed limit.”
The first officer arrested was one of the three pilots available and would have taken the controls for a part of the 11-hour flight to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
The flight was delayed by several hours from Gatwick on Thursday as a replacement crew member joined the flight.
The airline apologized for the delay and said in a released statement on Saturday that it was “taking the matter extremely seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries.”