Pilot Questioned for Throwing Mobile Phone From Cockpit

Daily Mail: A British Airways captain has been questioned by police after allegedly throwing a mobile phone from his cockpit window just moments before take-off. The incident on Friday evening led to the jet being grounded as the pilot and his crew were removed.

Airline sources say the pilot became annoyed after being told he had to return to the airport gate to hand in the mobile. And in an attempt to take off as quickly as possible, he simply chucked the phone out of the cockpit window. But airport officials refused to let the aircraft leave Edinburgh Airport for Gatwick and his actions had the opposite effect – delaying the flight by three hours.

The pilot is now facing an investigation by the airline and possible disciplinary action.

Flight BA2945 had already been delayed slightly because of a Red Arrows display for Armed Forces Day in Edinburgh and was taxiing for take-off. One of the crew aboard the Boeing 737-400 discovered the phone and handed it to the captain after none of the 149 passengers claimed it. Anxious not to delay the flight further by returning to the stand and unloading the mobile, the pilot radioed air traffic control for permission to drop the phone out of the cockpit window.

When controllers refused permission, it is understood he simply defied them, opened the window and dumped the phone out on to the tarmac anyway.

Last night one source claimed the captain was already late and in no mood to delay even longer. He ignored the advice, put the phone in a bag, opened the side window of the cockpit and threw it to the ground. Moments earlier he'd asked air traffic control to get a member of the ground crew to come to the end of the runway and get the phone from him. They refused and told him to return to the gate, but he ignored that and just threw it out. The police then got involved and he was ordered back.

After the pilot was questioned by police, the airline was forced to find a replacement captain and crew. The pilot was questioned by Lothian and Borders police but not arrested. However, inquiries were still going on last night as officers investigated whether the pilot broke air-safety regulations.

It is not known whether the phone smashed on impact with the tarmac. Airport operators have to keep runways and aprons free from debris in case it impacts on aircraft safety. A BA spokeswoman said last night: 'We are investigating the matter and speaking to the pilots to understand the exact circumstances around the whole incident.'

She added that there was no requirement on safety grounds to get unclaimed phones off aircraft.


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