Friday, July 22, 2005

US pilots drunk on the job

Thu, 09 Jun 2005Two US pilots were convicted of trying to fly a jet with 124 passengers on board out of Miami while drunk, local media reported, and now face up to five years in jail when they are sentenced next month.
Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes, who worked for the US carrier America West, were arrested July 1, 2002 when they tried to board a flight and take off for Phoenix, Arizona, from Miami international airport. Airport employees smelled alcohol and noticed their eyes were bloodshot.
Airport workers called in Miami-Dade county police to report the pilots who had boarded the plane and started doing pre-flight checks.
Flight 566 had separated from the gate and was headed onto a runway to prepare for takeoff when it was pulled over. The pilots were ordered to return to the gate where they were met by police.
Two hours later they were taken to a police station where they were given alcohol tests. Their levels topped the legal limit of 0.08 percent alcohol in the blood. Cloyd and Hughes tried to move their case to federal courts where the blood alcohol limit is a higher 0.10 percent.
And they argued they did not have direct control of the plane because it was being towed by a small vehicle on the ground.
Court documents maintain Cloyd and Hughes had been drinking beer in a Miami bar until early in the morning of July 1 — four hours before the flight. Safety rules bar pilots from drinking alcohol fewer than eight hours ahead of a flight.


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