SkyWest Airlines Pilot Arrested On Suspicion Of Operating Flight While Intoxicated

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Travelers on a Delta connection flight from Rapid City, SD to Salt Lake City experienced an unusual, but necessary, delay on Wednesday morning when police arrested the pilot on the suspicion that he was intoxicated.

Airport officials said the SkyWest Airlines pilot smelled of alcohol, and called authorities to investigate. He was subsequently arrested on charges of operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol, the Rapid City Police Department said on Facebook.

“The system worked the way it is designed to ensure passengers’ safety was not compromised,” RCPD chief Karl Jegeris wrote on Twitter.

Under South Dakota law, it’s illegal to fly an aircraft with a blood-alcohol level above 0.04%. Federal regulations also prohibit pilots from flying with a BAC above 0.04%, or from consuming alcohol at least eight hours before operating an aircraft.

SkyWest told CBS News that it is investigating and apologized for a “crewmember issue” delaying the flight, and said the pilot has been placed on administrative leave and removed from flying duties.

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