South Jersey pilot accused of trying to fly drunk

Posted: September 15, 2010

Dutch authorities pulled a Gloucester County pilot from a passenger jet shortly before takeoff near Amsterdam on Tuesday and accused him of being beschonken.

That's drunk in English.

The pilot, identified only as a 52-year-old captain from Woodbury, was taken into custody in the cockpit of his plane at Schiphol International Airport.

Delta Flight 35 was canceled after a crew member was found "unfit for duty," according to an airline spokesman. The Boeing 767-300 with 196 passengers was bound for Newark Liberty International Airport.

Police said they arrested the captain after an anonymous tip. A breath test found he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.023 percent, a hair above the legal threshold for intoxication in the Netherlands.

The pilot paid a $911 fine and was released. He has been suspended pending results of Delta's investigation.

Dutch law prohibits flight-crew members from imbibing alcohol within 10 hours of takeoff. The Federal Aviation Administration also is investigating.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or

Inquirer staff writer Mike Newall contributed to this article.

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