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Passengers Stranded After 'Highly Intoxicated' Pilot Removed from Cockpit

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German police took the co-pilot off a Portuguese airliner just before takeoff

A Portuguese airline apologized this weekend after one of its pilots was detained by police for allegedly being extremely drunk in the cockpit of an airplane right before takeoff. The flight to Portugal was canceled because the pilot was too drunk to fly, which meant its 106 passengers were stranded in Germany for three days.

According to The Local Germany, the 40-year-old co-pilot was meant to be working on a Portugalia flight from Stuttgart to Lisbon on the evening of Friday, March 23, but he allegedly had way too much to drink before getting behind the controls of a plane. Police came to investigate the situation after another airport employee reported seeing the pilot “reeking of alcohol,” stumbling, and looking unsteady on his way to the flight.

Police reportedly entered the cockpit just before the plane was scheduled to take off, and they detained the co-pilot after finding him in an extremely intoxicated state. The man's flying license was reportedly suspended immediately, and his bail was set at 10,000 euros, or $12,000.

The passengers were unable to fly to Lisbon that night after their flight was canceled, and the next available flight from Stuttgart to Lisbon was not until the next Monday. The passengers were put up in hotels for the weekend. TAP Air Portugal, Portugalia’s parent organization, apologized for the inconvenience to its passengers and said it would be looking into the incident, which definitely rivals some of the wildest airplane stories of 2017.

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