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Drunk airline pilot found passed out in cockpit

Calgary, Alberta — Canadian police have charged a pilot for Sunwing Airlines with impairment after he was allegedly found passed out over his seat before takeoff early Saturday.

Police said the pilot boarded the Boeing 737 with 99 passengers and six crew members in Calgary, Alberta for a flight that was scheduled to make stops in Regina, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba before continuing on to Cancun, Mexico.

But before it took off, police said the gate crew as well as crewmembers on the aircraft indicated he was behaving strangely.

Police allege the co-pilot found the pilot passed out in the cockpit.

"They found him slumped over in the seat. He was the captain," Calgary Sgt. Paul Stacey told a news conference.

The pilot was escorted from the plane and has been charged with having care and control of an aircraft while being impaired, as well as having a blood-alcohol level exceeding .08 while in care and control of an aircraft.

Stacey said police allege the suspect had three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

"Because he has as much alcohol in his system as he does, they're going to wait for him to sober up somewhat before he goes before a justice of the peace," Stacey said.

Police said the pilot's name will be released after he has appeared in court.

Sunwing spokeswoman Janine Massey praised the rest of the crew for handling what she called a "very unfortunate matter."

"We can confirm that shortly before 7 a.m. local time, the gate agents, first officer and crew of Sunwing flight 595, departing from Calgary and destined for Cancun, determined that the captain was unfit to fly and reported this accordingly," Massey stated.

Sunwing, a low cost Canadian carrier, said the plane took off a short time later with another captain.

"We are very apologetic for any upset that this has caused and would like to assure our customers that safety remains our utmost priority," Massey said.

Stacey said Transport Canada has been contacted and he expected the suspect could face additional charges.

"It had all the potential for a disaster but I'll tell you this much — the likelihood of a pilot on a major airline like this actually being able to take off when they're impaired like that is pretty slim, because there's a lot of checks and balances. There's the other flight crew and there's gate crew and they're all about safety," Stacey said.

"So, I'm not surprised that he got caught before (the plane) left the terminal."

Transport Canada spokesman Dan Dugas said in an email that it is a criminal offence in Canada for a flight crew to work within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence.

Dugas said Transport Canada is reviewing the pilot's records and Sunwing Airlines' procedures and protocols.

drunk pilot

Icasa approves Neotel sale

Liquid Telecom’s R6,5bn acquisition of Neotel is going ahead


Ordinary South Africans tell of how Madonsela affected them

Liquid Telecom’s R6,5bn acquisition of Neotel is going ahead. Communications regulator Icasa on Thursday gave the deal the green light, approving the transfer of licences to Liquid, according to a well-placed source with knowledge of the situation.

Added by Duncan McLeod

Liquid Telecom’s R6,5bn acquisition of Neotel is going ahead. Communications regulator Icasa on Thursday gave the deal the green light, approving the transfer of licences to Liquid, according to a well-placed source with knowledge of the situation.

The Icasa approval was the final regulatory hurdle that the deal had to clear before the deal could proceed. A formal announcement is expected later on Thursday, the source said.

Liquid is buying the South African telecommunications operator from Tata Communications and minority shareholders, led by Nexus Connexion.

News of the Icasa approval comes just weeks after Liquid Telecom secured US$300m (about R4,2bn) to help secure the Neotel acquisition and to help fund expansion elsewhere in Africa.

Standard Bank is arranging the syndicated loan to help fund the Neotel purchase and other deals underway in Botswana and Tanzania, Bloomberg quoted Liquid CEO Nic Rudnick as saying last month.

The news wire said the funding would help Econet pursue its strategy of expanding in Internet services and pay-television in sub-Saharan Africa.

Liquid announced its plan to buy Neotel in June. This came after Vodacom abandoned plans to buy the company when it became clear the deal would not pass regulatory muster.

Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick
Liquid Telecom is partnering with investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), which has agreed to take a 30% equity stake in Neotel, ensuring the company continues to be empowered at an equity level.

Liquid and RBH are acquiring Neotel from current controlling shareholder Tata Communications and minority shareholders, led by Nexus Connexion.

In a statement earlier this year, Rudnick said: “Leveraging the strengths of Liquid Telecom, RBH and Neotel, we will offer an unprecedented fibre network with a unique set of services and international connectivity for telecoms operators and enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa.

“For the first time, African companies will be able to connect with each other in a cost-effective and reliable way, all on a single fibre network. We will also be increasing investments into Neotel to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic, enabling us to launch exciting new products and services.”

© 2016 NewsCentral Media

thuli+madonselabt (1)

Thuli Madonsela’s tenure at the helm of the office of the public protector of South Africa has significantly raised the profile of the institution. This was mainly due to several high profile and controversial cases being referred to the office for investigation and adjudication.


[The Conversation]

Mafaro Kasipo, PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town and Olwethu Majola-Kinyunyu, PhD Candidate, Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article, Click here.

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