A British Airways pilot was arrested on suspicion of being drunk just before a commercial flight’s takeoff Thursday.
Crew members reported the pilot after they allegedly smelled alcohol on the officer’s breath, according to the Independent.
Armed police boarded the Mauritius-bound Boeing 777 at London Gatwick Airport shortly before its scheduled 8:20 p.m. departure, The Telegraph reports.
Passengers were reportedly in shock as police led the pilot, a 49-year-old man from West Drayton, off the plane.
He was taken into custody on suspicion of performing an aviation function with a blood alcohol level that was over the legal limit.
A British Airways spokesperson said the airline is “taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting the police with their inquiries,” The Independent reported.
“We are sorry for the delay to our customers,” the statement added.
An alternate pilot eventually joined the flight crew to replace the pilot who had been arrested.
The flight took off at 10:00 p.m., an hour and 40 minutes behind schedule, according to FlightAware.
It landed safely in Mauritius Friday.