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American Eagle Pilot Arrested for Allegedly Being Drunk

4:07 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) - An American Eagle pilot on a New York-bound plane was arrested at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for failing a blood-alcohol test.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told the Associated Press that witnesses alerted airport police that the pilot smelled like alcohol before he boarded the plane that was headed for LaGuardia Airport.

The pilot has been identified as Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, who lives in North Carolina. He was conducting preflight checks around 6:30 a.m. Friday when officers boarded the plane, conducted a Breathalyzer test and arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, the AP reports.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller told Today in the Sky that the incident involved a Bombardier CRJ-700 with 53 passengers. It had been scheduled to depart Minneapolis at 6:10 a.m. It left instead at 8:50 a.m. and arrived at LaGuardia at 12:15 p.m.

"American Eagle has a well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first," the airline said in a written statement. "We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation. The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation."

Charges are pending against Kristiansen, who was released to airline personnel on his own recognizance, the AP reports.

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