Less Than 30 Minutes Before Departure, the Pilot Was Arrested

Cops say pilot showed up drunk for Delta flight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2016 2:04 AM CDT
Cops: Pilot Turned Up Drunk for Delta Flight
Delta Air Lines planes at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The pilot of a Delta flight from a South Dakota airport was arrested less than 30 minutes before departure time Wednesday morning when a TSA agent told police he smelled like booze. Russel Duszak, 38, was found to have a blood alcohol content of more than 0.04 and was placed under arrest for operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol, the Rapid City Police Department said in a Facebook post. Duszak, a pilot for SkyWest Airlines, which was operating the flight for Delta, had been scheduled to fly to Salt Lake City, his hometown.

Duszak has been removed from flying duties and placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, reports CBS News, which notes that 10 other pilots in the US were arrested last year for having a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or higher. A passenger tells KOTA that at first, the airline told passengers "the plane wouldn't start." When passengers spotted police on the gangway with a member of the flight crew, the airline admitted there was a "crew issue," he says. (Two United Airlines pilots were arrested for suspected intoxication in August before a flight from Scotland to New Jersey.)

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