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British Airways pilot suspected of being drunk taken off plane at Gatwick Airport

British Airways Boeing 747 (747-400) on final approach for landing at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
British Airways Boeing 747 (747-400) on final approach for landing at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. CP

LONDON – A British Airways pilot has been removed from the cockpit of a flight amid fears he was drunk.

The Sun newspaper reported Saturday that police “rushed on the plane and headed straight for the cockpit. The first officer was cuffed and led away.” The newspaper says worried airline workers alerted police before the flight left for Mauritius.

Sussex police say a 49-year-old man from west London has been arrested “on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the proscribed limit.”

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The flight departed several hours late from Gatwick on Thursday after another crew member joined the flight.

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BA apologized for the delay and said in a statement Saturday that it was “taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries.”