British Airways pilot, allegedly drunk, taken off plane

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Passengers on a packed British Airways flight were shocked when armed police stormed the plane's cockpit and removed the first officer.

Armed police reportedly escorted the pilot from the Boeing 777 plane, which was headed for holiday spot Mauritius with around 300 passengers.

The first officer, one of three pilots set to take charge of the flight, was then led away.

British Airways has confirmed the pilot for the flight to Mauritius was replaced as the plane was delayed at the gate, before it left at 10.56pm - almost two hours later than scheduled.

"A number of passengers were open-mouthed".

"We're taking this matter extremely seriously and are assisting police with their inquiries", British Airways said in a statement.

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A 49-year-old man, from West London, was in custody on Friday in connection with the incident.

A replacement pilot was found and the plane left at 10.56pm, arriving in Mauritius at 2.07pm local time yesterday - almost two hours later than scheduled.

The flight departed several hours late from Gatwick airport on Thursday after another crew member joined the flight.

The newspaper says anxious airline workers alerted police before the flight left for Mauritius.

'The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority'.

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