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Pilot arrested just before takeoff for suspected intoxication

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TSA agents smelled alcohol on him and alerted airport police

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A pilot on a Delta Air Lines flight was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol after the plane he was scheduled to fly had already boarded.

Patrick Hogan, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, told CNN that pilot Gabriel Lyle Schroeder was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The flight that Schroeder was removed from at the time of his arrest, Delta Flight 1728, was heading to San Diego. According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, this flight ended up taking off at 12:23 p.m. Hogan said that there was "always a chance" that this flight could have taken off, piloted by an intoxicated Schroeder, before he could be detained.

Schroeder abruptly left a TSA line after seeing that TSA was conducting additional screenings, Hogan said, "which drew suspicion." CBS News reported that TSA agents smelled alcohol on Schroeder and alerted airport police who conducted a breathalyzer test.

Authorities caught Schroeder with an "alcoholic container" in his possession after he had already boarded his plane, according to a police report obtained by USA Today. Hogan did not elaborate further but said that Schroeder was released after he had been booked.

Toxicology reports have not yet been released, and Schroeder has not been formally charged.

A spokeswoman for the airline, Kate Modolo, told USA Today, "Delta's alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation."

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