Thursday, 27 October 2016

USA: Police Arrest Pilot, Delta Flight Grounded

A Skywest crew member was taken off a plane Wednesday morning by a Rapid City police officer but the airline just told passengers there was “a crew issue.”

A Delta flight to Utah was delayed Wednesday morning when Rapid City police took a crew member off the plane.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris said in a tweet - "RCPD has arrested a Skywest Airlines pilot for operation of an aircraft while intoxicated."

The pilot is 38-year-old Russel Duszak of Salt Lake City.

Police were called a little after 8 a.m., less than a half hour before the Skywest Airlines flight was to take off for Salt Lake City. Police were told by a TSA agent that the pilot “smelled of alcohol.”

Dayrn Farmer, a hunter on his way home to Oregon, said that when the passengers started the boarding procedures he noticed there wasn’t a flight crew.

“They first told us the plane wouldn’t start,” Farmer said.

After passengers saw a police officer on the gangway with a flight crew member, passengers were given a little more but still not exactly what was happening.

“They airline representatives just said they had a crew issue,” Farmer said.

Management at Regional Airport deferred questions to the Rapid City Police Department.

The flight, which was supposed to take off at 8:30 a.m., was delayed until 10:30 when another flight crew took over.

Skywest flies out of Rapid City as Delta Connection.

Many of the passengers missed connecting flights because of the incident, including Farmer. “Now we have a long day getting home,” he said.