AP

Police: Pilot removed from cockpit before takeoff was drunk

Mar 3, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (AP) — A pilot who appeared to be drunk was removed from the cockpit of a JetBlue flight as it was about to take off from Buffalo, police said.

Tests confirmed the pilot had a blood alcohol level of 0.17 percent, transit police said. Federal rules set a 0.04 limit for flying.

The flight was temporarily delayed Wednesday morning. Passengers on their way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said they watched from the plane as the pilot — one of two scheduled for the flight — was placed in a patrol car.

“Whatever the procedures are before you fly, they should have caught him before he was on the plane but they didn’t. He was on the plane in the cockpit,” Desiree Breckenridge Barnes-Jean told WGRZ-TV. “The upsetting thing is all of our lives would have been jeopardized.”

The pilot was identified as James Clifton, 52, of Orlando, Florida. He could not be reached by phone for comment Thursday.

The police report indicates that prior to boarding, Clifton seemed “off” to Transportation Security Administration agents, prompting Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police to pull him from the cockpit and perform a breath test for alcohol.

Clifton’s copilot said that the two had gone out for dinner the night before, and that Clifton stayed behind at the restaurant when he left. He missed the airport shuttle the next morning and arrived late to the airport in an Uber, the report said.

JetBlue Airways Corp., in a statement, said “the crewmember involved has been removed from his duties.”

“The safety of JetBlue’s customers and crewmembers is our first priority. We adhere to all (Department of Transportation) rules and requirements concerning alcohol at all times and have a very strict zero tolerance internal alcohol policy,” according to the statement, which said an internal investigation was planned.

Clifton was not immediately charged, the police report said. The U.S. attorney’s office declined comment Thursday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 hours ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

23 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

24 hours ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

2 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

4 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Police: Pilot removed from cockpit before takeoff was drunk