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American Eagle pilot pulled from Michigan to Texas flight; blood-alcohol level above limit

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - An American Eagle pilot was pulled from a flight minutes before it was to depart Tuesday after authorities believed they smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath at a security checkpoint.

Police at Gerald R. Ford International Airport escorted the captain from the plane and conducted a preliminary breath test that indicated a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, or three times the Federal Aviation Administration's legal limit, said airport spokesman Bruce Schedlbauer.

``The captain has been suspended from service ... pending the outcome of the investigation,'' said Lisa Bailey, American Eagle spokeswoman, who said company policy prevented her from identifying the pilot.

The pilot was is in the custody of American Eagle personnel and was to undergo additional blood-alcohol tests, Bailey said,

Bailey said American Eagle's alcohol policy is more stringent than FAA standards and that crew members may face disciplinary action if blood-alcohol content was found to be over .02 percent.

Flight 3796 to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was scheduled to leave at 6 a.m., but left at 7 a.m., flown by another pilot, Schedlbauer said. Thirty-six people were on board.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.