Drunken air crew get jail time in Norway

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Three members of an airBaltic flight crew who were caught by police over permitted alcohol limits were handed jail sentences by a Norwegian court Monday, local media reported.

The stiffest sentence so far was given to the co-pilot, who according to medical tests was the most inebriated of the bunch. He faces six months in prison.

Two stewards who also found themselves on the wrong side of the 0.2 promiles limit for taking to the skies received shorter sentences of 60 and 45 days in detention.

The fourth member of the five-person crew to fail the breathalyzer test was the captain, whose case is due to be heard September 17, until which time he has agreed to be kept in custody.

In an Oslo court, the co-pilot said he was glad police had caught him on August 9 before he had the chance to fly more than 100 passengers from Norway to Crete on a charter flight.

"We lost control," he said, citing a tough work schedule and not enough sleep as contributing factors.

He admitted the crew managed to put away two bottles of whisky between them before 8pm. 

"After that I only drank beer," he added, apparently in mitigation, in a remarkable account of the hard-drinking high life.

The captain is likely to face the harshest sentence of all, given that he was in overall charge of so many lives, even though he was less drunk than his right-hand man.

All four employees have been dismissed by airBaltic.

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