Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Video Shows Co-Pilot Before Boarding Aircraft While Allegedly Drunk

New surveillance video obtained by ABC News from Detroit Metropolitan Airport shows an arrested American Airlines co-pilot after police say he failed a breathalyzer test there last week.

In the video, the co-pilot can be seen walking through the airport, through security and later in handcuffs escorted by security personnel.

American Airlines told ABC News the flight, scheduled to land in Philadelphia on Saturday, March 26, was canceled and customers were being accommodated.

A TSA screener notified a manager Saturday morning when he suspected the co-pilot, John Maguire, of being drunk when he arrived for his flight in Detroit, according to the police report.

The same report indicates Maguire boarded the aircraft and had trouble with his seat. He was later escorted off the airplane and taken to a TSA holding room. While there, a police officer asked the co-pilot whether he had been drinking, the police report said. Maguire responded that he had not had a drink since the night before, police say.

According to the police officer who administered the breathalyzer, Maguire's first attempt at blowing into the device resulted in an error. Another officer on scene said this was because Maguire did not blow into the machine hard enough, according to the police report. Maguire's second attempt at the breathalyzer was successful and indicated a blood alcohol content of 0.081 percent, police say. Authorities then detained him.

It's unclear exactly where the co-pilot was at the time of the arrest, Michael Conway, director of public affairs at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, said, but the airport police were called around 6:30 a.m. and the plane was due to take off around 7 a.m.

The 50-year-old co-pilot has been charged in Wayne County with operating under the influence of alcohol, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

The legal limit for a pilot, however, is half that: .04. Additionally, pilots are banned from drinking within eight hours of a flight.

American Airlines said in a statement: "This is a serious matter and we are assisting local law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration with the investigation. We will handle this matter appropriately as the safety and care of our customers and employees is our highest priority."

"We apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans," the airline said.

Maguire was released pending an arraignment. He did not enter a plea.

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