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Saturday, 15 January, 2000, 16:09 GMT
Drunk pilot ejected from airliner

schiphol airport Schiphol Airport: Police delayed the flight till Saturday


The captain of a Royal Air Maroc Boeing-737 was refused permission to take off from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Friday because he was drunk.

The pilot, who has not been named, had been due to fly to the Moroccan city of Tangiers with 125 passengers on board.

He was making his way along the gangway to his plane when security officers noticed that he seemed unsteady on his feet.

Military police at the airport asked him to take a breath test, and although he objected strongly to begin with, he did comply eventually.

The level of alcohol in his blood was found to be more than four times the legal limit for driving in the Netherlands.

Pilots are not permitted to have any alcohol or drugs, in some cases even prescription drugs, in their systems when they fly.

Handful of cases

This is not the first time such an incident has occured, according to aviation expert Chris Yates.

"There have been a few incidents in the last 12 months where pilots have been asked to go home," he said.

It was up to the airline involved to discipline the pilot, he added.

The Dutch news agency ANP said the pilot spoke incoherently and wanted to return to the aircraft at all costs during the tests.

The pilot was fined 2,500 gilders ($1,000) - and prevented from flying until midday on Saturday.

His passengers had to spend an extra night in the Netherlands while their captain recovered.

The flight departed at 0510 on Saturday, according to a Schiphol Information operator.

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