A pilot who was arrested for being intoxicated less than an hour before his scheduled flight from London to Tokyo allegedly had nearly 10 times the legal blood alcohol content in his system, the Associated Press reports.
On Thursday, Japan Airlines co-pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa admitted to failing a breathalyzer test on Oct. 28 and pleaded guilty to being intoxicated, the outlet reports. According to London’s Metropolitan Police, the 42-year-old pilot was found to have 189 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood in his system.
The legal limit for a pilot is 20mg, while the legal limit for drivers in the U.K. is 80 mg. CNN and Japanese broadcaster NHK corroborated these reports.
London’s Metropolitan Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. According to a statement from Japan Airlines on their website, the co-pilot “failed a breath test in violation of UK’s Aviation Law” which revealed he had “excessive alcohol” in his system. He then submitted a blood sample, which “concluded that the co-pilot was in violation by seeking to fly with a blood alcohol reading in excess of the permitted level.”
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According to NHK, the driver of a crew bus smelled alcohol and called police. Jitsukawa was scheduled to fly a 244-passenger flight from London Heathrow International Airport to Tokyo just 50 minutes after he was arrested. The local station reports he admitted to drinking two bottles of wine and a pitcher of beer the night before he was scheduled to fly the plane.
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Jitsukawa was detained until sentencing on Nov. 29.
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Japan Airlines has since apologized for the incident, issuing a statement saying the pilot’s flight was delayed but took off an hour later with a different captain “within regulations under a safe operational environment.”
“The Company does not condone the individual`s actions and takes this violation seriously, as safety remains our utmost priority,” the airline’s statement continued. “We will implement immediate actions to prevent any future occurrence and to regain our customer`s trust.”
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