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Delta flight from Grand Forks cancelled Sunday: Pinnacle investigating crew

A Delta Airlines flight on a 50-passenger Pinnacle CRJ 200 jet scheduled to leave Grand Forks Sunday afternoon was cancelled and Pinnacle is investigating allegations involving an employee, said a spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines.

Delta officials referred Herald questions about the flight Sunday to Joe Williams, a spokesman for Pinnacle, which flies smaller jets connecting Delta flights from smaller regional airports, including Fargo, Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, with the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Williams, speaking Sunday from Memphis, said he could not "confirm or comment on" allegations that a flight attendant for Delta Flight 3743, scheduled to leave Grand Forks at 1:07 p.m. Sunday, was intoxicated.

"What I can tell you is our regulations governing consumption of alcohol by flight crews are stricter than FAA regulations, which require crews to be alcohol-free eight hours before flight," Williams said. "And we require (flight crews to be alcohol-free) 12 hours before flight."

The 50-passenger jet has a crew of three: pilot, co-pilot and flight attendant, he said.

Delta Flight 3743 was cancelled, which means it never left the ground in Grand Forks, Williams said.

"The safety of our passengers and flight crew is the first priority and we expect 100 percent compliance at all times," Williams said, emphasizing again he could not confirm or comment on specific allegations about this incident until a "thorough investigation" is complete.

In any such investigation, any employee involved "would be off-duty pending the outcome," Williams said.

When a flight is cancelled, "passengers are accommodated on the very next flight," he said.

Delta had regularly scheduled flights at 3:05 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday which departed Grand Forks for Minneapolis, according to the airline's website.