US pilot at London Heathrow hauled from cockpit for being drunk

London - The pilot of a Boeing 777 due to fly from London to Mumbai in India was taken off the plane by police after a breath test showed he had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol at a Christmas party the night before, Britain's Sun newspaper reported Tuesday.

It said armed police swooped the cockpit of the Indian-based Jet Airways plane at London's Heathrow airport to arrest 62-year-old Michael Harr shortly before take-off.

Among the 300 passengers on last Sunday's flight were relatives of people involved in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, said the Sun. It described the jet's first officer as a former US Marine who had previously worked for Delta Airlines in the US.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that officers had entered an aircraft at Heathrow Sunday morning. "A 62-year-old man was arrested for being over the limit. He has been bailed until February."

The scandal comes two months after British police held another American aged 44 on suspicion of being over the limit minutes before he was due to fly a United Airlines jet to San Francisco.

In October last year, a Virgin Atlantic pilot aged 42 about to take off for Miami was also arrested at Heathrow. Airline pilots are banned from consuming alcohol eight hours before flying. (dpa)

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