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Pilot fails alcohol breath test, arrested

– An American Eagle pilot was suspended after failing a blood-alcohol test as he prepared to fly on Friday from Minneapolis to New York City, authorities said.

Police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said officers and a Transportation Security Administration agent smelled alcohol as they passed the pilot waiting to get on an elevator. The pilot was conducting preflight checks about 6 a.m. when police boarded the aircraft, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.

Officers made him take a breath test and arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, Hogan said. Passengers had not yet boarded the flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, he said.

Federal rules prohibit pilots from flying within eight hours of drinking alcohol or with a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 percent or higher, half the level allowed for motorists.

Hogan said preliminary results from the breath test were well over the legal limit but declined to release the results. He said the “more precise” results from the blood test would be released when they’re available.

The pilot has been suspended pending an investigation, American Airlines said.

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