View Full Version : American pilot charged with trying to fly drunk

yellow rocket
22nd Dec 2003, 05:07
American pilot charged with trying to fly drunk


A Virgin Atlantic pilot was in custody last night in the United States preparing for a bail hearing, after he was charged with trying to fly a plane under the influence of alcohol.

Captain Richard Harwell, 55, was arrested shortly before he was due to fly almost 400 passengers across the Atlantic from Washington DC to Heathrow.

Harwell was escorted off the plane after airport staff allegedly detected alcohol on his breath during pre-flight security checks.

He will be formally accused at a bail hearing today and faces a sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.

The 383 stranded passengers on board flight VS22 were put up in hotels until a new crew could be found.

A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said Harwell had been with the airline for 14 years and had an "unblemished record".