The French union of airline pilots, SNPL France ALPA, is now defending two pilots who were in the cockpit of a Falcon 50 involved in a major drug bust in the Dominican Republic. Bruno Odos and Pascal Fauret, jailed in Higüey for 77 days and counting, are “collateral damage,” the union said in a statement released today.
The country, as an ICAO member, was responsible for security checks on the luggage that turned out to contain 1,500 pounds of cocaine, the pilot union said. On a commercial flight, pilots must check luggage weight and balance but may not open it to check content, the SNPL asserted. However, according to a pilot interviewed by AIN, a captain is responsible for the content of every bag onboard. In the Falcon 50’s case, he suggested, the presence of 26 suitcases, most of them in the cabin, should have raised strong suspicion.
The union is not standing behind Alain Castany, the third pilot on board. “He is a pilot, indeed, but on this flight he was a passenger,” SNPL president Yves Deshayes told AIN.