Co-Pilot Appeared Drunk, Forces Cancellation of American Airlines Flight

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

A co-pilot for American Airlines was arrested at Detroit Metro Airport Saturday because he appeared to be drunk, forcing authorities to cancel a flight to Philadelphia.

The co-pilot, who was not identified pending possible charges, failed a field sobriety test and a “more sophisticated test” administered by police, according to airport spokesman Michael Conway.

Police were called after Transportation Security Administration personnel reported that the co-pilot, who is from Pennsylvania, was acting as if he had been drinking when he passed through airline crew security screening before the flight was scheduled to leave, Conway said.

Conway called the situation “extremely unusual.” He said it remains an open investigation, but that police are developing the case to turn over to prosecutors for possible charges. The pilot was initially in custody but was expected to be released.

American Airlines spokeswoman Laura Nedbal said passengers were being moved to other flights. She said no passenger count was taken because the flight never took off, but that that particular aircraft holds 99 passengers when full.

Nedbal cited respect for the co-pilot’s privacy in declining to release additional details.

Authorities did not release the blood-alcohol level for the co-pilot.