'Drunk' pilot arrested in cockpit

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Police removed a "drunk" pilot from the cockpit of a British Airways aeroplane just minutes before it was scheduled to take off.

Police were notified, after cabin crew alleged that they could smell alcohol on his breath, the Telegraph reports.

The 49-year-old pilot from West Drayton, London was arrested in Gatwick Airport on a flight bound for Mauritius.

The first officer was removed from the Boeing 777 by armed police, delaying the flight by more than two and a half hours.

The newspaper says anxious airline workers alerted police before the flight left for Mauritius.

It is alarming to imagine what could've happened if the police were not called however, a stand-in pilot was located and the plane left Gatwick Airport, Horley at 10:56pm, landing in Mauritius at 2:07pm local time.

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An airline source told The Sun: "Cops rushed onto the plane and headed straight for the cockpit".

A British airways spokesman said: "We're taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries".

He was taken into custody on suspicion of performing an aviation function with a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit.

An alternate pilot eventually joined the flight crew to replace the pilot who had been arrested.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority".

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