American Airlines co-pilot charged for being drunk on the job

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A co-pilot suspected of being drunk on the job has been charged, authorities said.

The Pennsylvania man, who works for American Airlines, was detained on Saturday at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, an airport spokesman said.

He’s been charged with operating an aircraft under the influence, a misdemeanor, according to Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County, Michigan assistant prosecuting attorney.

“Although we do not often hear of pilots being allegedly intoxicated, the laws apply to everyone – whether one is on the roads or airways,” said Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Pilots cannot fly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to FAA regulations.

Those rules also stipulate pilots can’t consume alcohol eight hours before their flight.

Those with a blood alcohol content level higher than .04 percent – half what the legal driving limit is in most states – are not allowed to operate an aircraft.

CNN is attempting to reach out to the co-pilot’s attorney seeking comment on the charge, as well as the prosecutor’s office to see if felony charges were considered and federal authorities to see if federal charges are applicable.

On Saturday, airport police were called to the North Terminal in the early morning hours in response to a report of a pilot who was “exhibiting signs of being drunk,” airport spokesman Michael Conway said.

Two sobriety tests showed the co-pilot was over the legal blood alcohol content level for operating an aircraft, airport police said.

The Philadelphia-bound flight he was scheduled to operate was then canceled.

“This is a serious matter, and we are assisting local law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration with the investigation. We will handle this matter appropriately as the safety and care of our customers and employees is our highest priority,” American Airlines said in a statement obtained by WDIV. “We apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans.”

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