Canadian flight crew held in Dominican Republic released on bail: airline

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: air traffic control tower - Punta Cana International Airport. PUJ / MDPC - photo by M.Torres

A Canadian airline has warned against travelling to the Dominican Republic after five of its crew members were among 11 people detained in the country when 200 packages of presumed cocaine were seized onboard an aircraft in early April.

Pivot Airlines told Global News its crew members, detained at the beginning of the month, had now been released on bail but were required to remain within the country.

The bust was made on April 6 at Punta Cana International Airport, according to the country’s National Directorate for Drug Control.

Pivot Airlines said that five of its crew members discovered and reported what they believed to be contraband in the maintenance compartment of the plane. They were then detained, the airline said.

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In its statement, Pivot Airlines warned of threats to the safety of its crew members and urged anyone travelling to the country to make alternative plans.

“The continued prosecution and credible threats to the lives of our crew in the Dominican Republic raise serious concerns for all those travelling to the country, including those considering vacationing in the Dominican Republic,” a spokesperson said. “We believe this incident should cause all travellers to consider making alternative travel plans.”

The airline said its crew had received threats both “inside and outside of jail.”

“While we were recently able to secure their release on bail, a condition of their release was that they must remain in the Dominican Republic until the matter is resolved,” the spokesperson said.

In an April 6 press release, the National Directorate for Drug Control said nine Canadians, one person from India and another from the Dominican Republic were “being questioned to determine their possible involvement.”

Global Affairs Canada told Global News was aware “of the incident involving Pivot Airlines in the Dominican Republic.”

“Consular officials are monitoring the situation closely, engaging with local authorities and providing consular assistance,” a spokesperson said.

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— with files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson


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