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Judge sentences drunk pilot who passed out in the cockpit before takeoff is jailed for eight months

April 4, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Judge sentences drunk pilot who passed out in the cockpit before takeoff is jailed for eight months

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An airline pilot, who was so intoxicated that he passed out in the cockpit before the plane took off, was sentenced to eight months behind bars in a Canadian jail, on Monday.

Miroslav Gronych pleaded guilty in March to having care and control of an aircraft while he had a blood alcohol level of three times over the legal limit.

The 37-year-old Slovakian pilot was taken off a Sunwing Airlines plane in Calgary on December 31st before a flight was scheduled to depart to Cancun, Mexico.

The court heard that when Gronych entered the plane, he had trouble hanging up his coat, had slurred speech, and was staggering, according to the Calgary Herald.

The pilot arrived to work an hour before takeoff and struggled to hang up his coat, was slurring his words and was staggering

The court was also informed that the co-pilot urged Gronych to leave the plane, but he ultimately returned to the cockpit, sat down, and passed out with his face on the window.

A housekeeper recovered an empty 26-ounce bottle of vodka in the pilot’s hotel room, according to the Calgary Herald. He arrived in Calgary at 1 am and was scheduled to arrive back at the airport one hour before his 7 am flight.

Crown attorney Rose Greenwood had argued to Judge Anne Brown in an earlier hearing that the man “put the lives of 105 people in jeopardy.”

The defense requested a three to six-month sentence while the prosecution asked the judge to give Gronych one year behind bars.

Brown gave the husband and father of two an eight-month sentence since he had gotten help for his alcoholism and had lost his job.

Sunwing, a low-cost Canadian carrier, has said it maintains zero tolerance policy on crew members consuming alcohol within 12 hours of going on duty

In addition to jail time, Brown prohibited Gronych from flying for one year after he is released. She added that he has abstained from drinking since the incident and has been “thoroughly shamed.”

His defense attorney told the court in March that Gronych couldn’t sleep the night and felt like he was getting sick. He took a few shots of vodka and a Tylenol and prepared to wake up in time to let his bosses know that he wouldn’t make the flight.

He forgot to set an alarm and was woken up by a call asking where he was. He then consumed the remainder of the bottle and left for the flight.

When authorities arrived, they discovered his pilot’s wings were fastened upside down. They detected alcohol on his breath, and he couldn’t stand up.

Sunwing, a budget Canadian airline, has announced that it has a zero tolerance policy on crew members consuming alcohol within 12 hours of flying.

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