Pilot and crew pulled off Oslo plane after failing breath test

The pilot, co-pilot and two stewardesses -- all from Latvia and employed by Air Baltic -- were pulled off a passenger plane in Oslo after failing breathalyser tests (AFP Photo/Damien Meyer)

Oslo (AFP) - The Latvian pilot of an airBaltic flight and three crew members were pulled off the Greece-bound plane in Oslo early Saturday after failing a breathalyser test before take-off, Norwegian police said.

"Results of the breathalyser tests confirmed that four of the five crew members ... were above the legal alcohol limit of 0.2 promille," Romerike police prosecutor Edith Ek Sorensen told AFP.

The pilot, co-pilot and two stewardesses -- all from Latvia and employed by airBaltic -- were taken into police custody and escorted to hospital for blood tests to confirm the breathalyser exams.

Results were expected later.

Sorensen said police had acted after receiving a tipoff from an anonymous caller around 4:00 am (0200 GMT).

AirBaltic spokesman Janis Vanags told AFP the company had a "zero tolerance" policy with regard to alcohol.

"Zero tolerance means no alcohol," Vanags said. "It's very straightforward - safety is our number one priority."

"There has been an initial test and that is being followed up with more detailed tests. When we have the results we will take appropriate action," he added, offering the company's apologies to customers.

The four risk up to two years in prison if found guilty.

Sorensen would not comment on the flight's destination, but Norwegian daily Dagbladet said it was a tour group flight operated by the Norwegian group StarTour headed for Chania, Greece, with 109 passengers on board.