American Eagle Pilot Suspected of Being Drunk Removed From Flight
(MINNEAPOLIS) — An American Eagle pilot who was preparing to fly from Minneapolis to New York City was arrested Friday after failing a breathalyzer test.
Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, of Hollow Lane, N.C., was taken into custody by police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to an arrest report.
Officers and a TSA agent smelled alcohol on Kristiansen as they passed him waiting to enter an elevator, the report said.
Airport police were notified and started an investigation. In the mean time, the pilot went to the plane and started his pre-flight checks before his scheduled flight from Minneapolis to New York’s La Guardia airport.
Kristiansen completed his checks and was exiting the plane when officers took him into custody and administered a breathalyzer test, which authorities said the pilot failed.
A blood draw was completed at a local hospital, said Patrick Hogan, spokesperson for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The pilot’s BAC wasn’t released by authorities.
In Minnesota, the legal BAC limit for pilots is .04 — much lower than the limit for drivers of .08.
Hogan said he had not heard any reports of people witnessing Kristiansen drinking alcohol.
He was released to airline personnel on own recognizance at 10:29 a.m., the arrest report said. It was not yet known whether Kristiansen had a lawyer.
The flight was delayed by two and a half hours while a replacement pilot was located.
American Eagle said it has a “well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first.”
“We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation. The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation,” the airline said in a statement.
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