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Drunk airBaltic crew included co-pilot at seven times legal alcohol limit

Second officer given six months’ jail while captain and flight attendants also face proceedings after tip-off stopped them taking charge of fligAn airBaltic co-pilot was given a jail sentence after drinking heavily before a flight.ht from Norway

A Latvian co-pilot has been sentenced to six months in jail after he failed a breathalyser test before he was due to take off from Oslo airport.

The 38-year old co-pilot admitted he had drank two bottles of whisky and some beer with other crew members before the flight’s planned departure for the island of Crete with about 100 passengers on board. He was found to have a blood alcohol level seven times over the legal limit.

Two flight attendants were also sentenced to 45 and 60 days each, after they tested positive for alcohol.

But the 50-year old Latvian pilot, whose alcohol level was more than double the legal limit, has rejected some of the charges against him.

He is being held in custody and will appear before a court on 17 September. The maximum sentence is two years in jail.

“We lost control,” the co-pilot told an Oslo court earlier this week. He said the group had downed two bottles of whisky, before he began drinking beer on the night of 7 August.

He was still drinking beer at 2am, just four hours before the flight was due to take off. Norwegian police tested the crew after receiving an anonymous tip-off.

AirBaltic suspended the four crew members, following the failed breath tests and has said it is seeking their dismissal.

In the wake of the arrests, the airline launched an investigation and introduced mandatory breathalyser tests for all pilots and staff with a “safety-critical” role.

“Safety is a top priority at AirBaltic and following the situation in Oslo we have stepped up safety measures,” a spokesman said.

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