updated 10/29/2007 11:33:43 AM ET 2007-10-29T15:33:43

London police arrested the co-pilot of a passenger jet on suspicion of being over the legal alcohol limit, minutes before the flight was due to take off for the U.S. on Sunday, authorities said.

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London police said officers boarded the Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 as it was undergoing final checks before takeoff from Heathrow Airport to Miami. A 42-year-old crew member was arrested.

Virgin Atlantic confirmed the man was a first officer on the plane, which has a three-person flight crew. He was released on bail but was suspended from duty pending a police investigation.

The flight, VS5, was delayed for 3 1/2 hours while a replacement crew was found. There were 266 passengers on board.

Airline regulations, in accordance with transport law, recommend flight crews drink no alcohol for at least eight hours before flying.

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