Drunken Slovak pilot pleads guilt

The judge is expected to issue a verdict in early April.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

The Slovak pilot who was found drunk on a plane at the Calgary airport in Canada confessed before the court that he boarded the plane which was to carry 99 passengers and a further six crew members to Cancun.

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According to the prosecutor, Sunwing pilot Miroslav Gronych (37) was so drunk when he stumbled onto the airplane he was supposed to fly from Calgary to Regina that his wing pin was on upside down and he appeared to pass out in the captain’s chair.

The prosecutor is now asking the judge to sentence Gronych to one year in prison, the Canadian station CBC reported on its website.

Gronych, who lives in Canada on a work visa, pleaded guilty on March 21 to having care and control of an aircraft with a blood alcohol level three times higher than the limit. He was arrested and charged on December 31, 2016.

Read also: Drunken Slovak pilot sacked Read more 

The pilot Gronych flew into the Calgary airport at night and was scheduled to report back in the morning. He staggered onto the plane about an hour later. Airport and airline employees he had passed along the way had already tracked down the first officer to voice their concerns after noting the pilot was slurring his words and could not walk in a straight line, according to CBC.

He then passed out in the cockpit, where he was later found. When he woke up, his co-workers told him to leave on his own or be forcibly removed by police. Gronych walked off the airplane, and gate agents held him at the end of the bridge until police arrived.

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A bottle of vodka was found in the pilot’s hotel room.

“This was a crime of dramatic proportion,” said prosecutor Rose Greenwood, as quoted by CBC. “The last thing the public should have to do is question the sobriety of pilots.”

Gronych’s lawyer said before the court that he is addicted to alcohol and had already begun treatment in Saskatoon, where he had been living.

“I feel very ashamed,” said Gronych, as quoted by CBC. “I feel a lot of remorse.”

He added that he has not had a drink since the day of his arrest.

The judge is expected to issue the ruling on April 3.

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