Pilot stopped after screeners smell alcohol

Associated Press
Published October 24, 2005

MIAMI - A United Airlines pilot was taken into custody at Miami International Airport on Sunday after security screeners smelled alcohol as he prepared to board a flight to Washington Dulles International Airport, authorities said.

The incident appeared similar to an incident in 2002 when a drunken America West pilot and co-pilot were arrested as they boarded a flight in Miami. They were sentenced to prison last summer.

The United pilot was boarding Flight 1404 for a scheduled 9 a.m. departure when Transportation Security Administration screeners thought they smelled alcohol on him, said Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said officers from the Miami-Dade County Police Department, which investigates most crimes at the airport, took the pilot into custody. Police officials could not provide details, including whether the pilot has been charged.

Bergen said the FAA is "conducting an investigation which would be separate from any investigation law enforcement would do."

United Airlines had no immediate comment.