(MINNEAPOLIS) — An American Eagle pilot who was preparing to fly from Minneapolis to New York City was arrested Friday after failing a breathalyzer test.
Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, of Hollow Lane, N.C., was taken into custody by police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to an arrest report.
Officers and a TSA agent smelled alcohol on Kristiansen as they passed him waiting to enter an elevator, the report said.
Kristiansen had been scheduled to pilot an early-morning flight from Minneapolis to New York’s LaGuardia airport, said Patrick Hogan, spokesperson for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Acting on the accounts of the officials, officers boarded the aircraft when Kristiansen was doing his pre-flight inspection, Hogan said. No passengers were on board.
A breathalyzer test was administered, Hogan said, although it was unclear whether it took place on board the aircraft.
Kristiansen allegedly failed the breathalyzer test and was taken into custody by airport police at 5:57 a.m., according to the arrest report. A blood draw was completed at a local hospital, Hogan said. The pilot’s BAC wasn’t released by authorities.
In Minnesota, the legal BAC limit for pilots is .04 — much lower than the limit for drivers of .08.
Hogan said he had not heard any reports of people witnessing the pilot drinking alcohol.
He was released to airline personnel on own recognizance at 10:29 a.m., the arrest report said. It was not yet known whether Kristiansen had a lawyer.
The flight was delayed by two and a half hours while a replacement pilot was located.
American Eagle said it has a “well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first.”
“We are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full internal investigation. The pilot will be withheld from service pending the outcome of the investigation,” the airline said in a statement.
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