RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Police arrested the pilot of a SkyWest Airlines plane on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol Wednesday before the passenger jet could leave a South Dakota airport.
Rapid City police were notified shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday that the pilot smelled of alcohol. Police said they determined the 38-year-old pilot from Salt Lake City was in violation of a South Dakota law prohibiting the operation of an aircraft with a blood-alcohol content above 0.04 percent.
The pilot was arrested in the Rapid City Regional Airport, police spokesman Brendyn Medina said. No passengers were yet on board the 50-seat plane, SkyWest spokesman Layne Watson said
SkyWest was operating the flight as a Delta Connection from Rapid City to Salt Lake City, Watson said. The flight, with a passenger list of 45, was delayed two hours while a new crew came aboard and arrived in Salt Lake City at 12:30 p.m., Watson said.
In a statement, SkyWest said it holds its employees "to the highest standards of professionalism," and apologized to passengers for the delay. The airline based in St. George, Utah, said the pilot has been placed on administrative leave and removed from flying duties during an investigation.
No charges have been filed, Pennington County Chief Deputy State's Attorney Lara Roetzel said. The pilot was released from jail on $300 bail and is due in court for an initial appearance Nov. 11, Roetzel said.
This story has been corrected to correct that the pilot was arrested in the Rapid City Regional Airport, not on the plane, and to correct the attribution to a Rapid City police spokesman instead of a SkyWest Airlines spokesman.