Nearly one hundred passengers were all set to fly out on a Sunwing Airlines flight to Cancun, Mexico on Saturday morning (Dec. 30). The six-member crew was prepped and the 737 was gassed up. The only problem was that the pilot was apparently inebriated of his mind. Captain Miroslav Gronych was reportedly arrested at Calgary International Airport in Toronto on two charges of alcohol-related offenses, The New York Times reports.
The flight’s captain was said to be passed out in the cockpit, when authorities arrested him. Sunwing’s gate agents noticed that the captain’s behavior was a bit peculiar and immediately alerted the co-pilot and Calgary Police Service, according to The Associated Press. “He was pretty high,” Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey of the Calgary Police Service said, noting he was “severely impaired by alcohol.” According to Transport Canada Regulations, consuming alcoholic beverages of drugs is strictly prohibited within eight hours of a flight.
“This is a new one, and obviously this had a very significant potential to cause great harm had the pilot actually been allowed to fly this plane,” Sgt. Stacey added. “There’s just so many checks and balances, it just doesn’t surprise me that he got caught before this plane was able to leave the gate.”
Gronych was reportedly charged with having control of an aircraft while being impaired and taking control of an aircraft while having over the legal limit of .08, the NYT reports. Inspector the commander of the Calgary Police Service’s traffic and airport unit, Ken Thrower, said his team will launch a full investigation on the matter to figure out how the pilot managed to pass through standard checkpoints in a clear state of inebriation. Transport Canada will reportedly conduct a separate investigation, which may result in additional charges.
Gronych will appear in court on Thursday (Jan. 4). Sunwing released a brief statement via, AP, saying they were “very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority.”