A pilot preparing to take off from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport failed a breathalyzer test as the crew was readying for departure. He was subsequently arrested.
The pilot and crew of American Eagle Flight 4590 was preparing for its regularly scheduled flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport when an unnamed individual reported they had smelled alcohol on the breath of the pilot. The pilot was subsequently given a breathalyzer test, reported Minnesota Public Radio.
"A witness smelled what they believed was alcohol on the breath of a pilot this morning," Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said. "Airport police followed up and conducted a breathalyzer. The pilot did fail the breathalyzer test, and was taken to Fairview Southdale hospital for blood tests."
According to ABC News, the witness was a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee and the alcohol was smelled as the pilot went through a security checkpoint.
The suspicion of the pilot being under the influence for the 6 a.m. (Central time) flight occurred during the pre-flight check, Hogan had also said, reported Reuters. The pilot was arrested after failing the breathalyzer.
The result of the blood test is currently awaited, but this could reportedly take weeks. In the meantime, the pilot has been suspended pending possible charges.
In the State of Minnesota, the legal limit for pilots' BAC (blood alcohol content) is 0.04, which is stricter than the limit for motorists.
"We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation," American Eagle said in a statement. "The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation."
ABC News also identified the pilot as Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, of Raleigh, North Carolina.
The flight took off three hours later with another pilot in the cockpit.