When emergency medical helicopters were unable to contact the Boise air traffic control tower in the early morning hours of November 19, police and firefighters were sent to check on the welfare of the ATC operator.
Police reports obtained by the BOISEGUARDIAN indicate officers were met at the door by a man who soon began munching on a pizza. There may have been smoke, but there was no fire. He may also have been flying high, but never left the ground.
Once the officers entered the building the guy directed them to the elevator and opened what appeared to be a personal locker in a hallway in the opposite direction. He later joined the coppers in the elevator and announced loudly to his colleague as they arrived at the tower cab, “The cops are here.”
The series of reports all have the names of the two controllers blacked out, but each officer mentioned the aroma of marijuana when they were on the elevator and in the control cab atop the tower.
In the narrative it was apparent that one of the Federal Aviation employees was on duty and another joined him at 3 a.m.
The men were described as appearing to have “just woken up” and grinned at the officers who were trying to remind them about the importance of their air traffic control duties. The controllers kept telling the coppers that everything was “just fine,” downplaying the gravity of ignoring aircraft radio calls.
Officers reported they left the tower unescorted and could smell what they recognized as marijuana, but were unable to find it in the trash or other open areas. Since they obtained no evidence, no arrests were made.
CONCLUSION–couple of guys got the munchies after taking their “recreational medicine” and one may have either gone out for pizza or prepared one in the lower levels of the tower.
The FAA will conduct it’s own “joint investigation” and the public will no doubt never hear anything else about the “personnel matter.” Median annual pay for a Federal Air Traffic Controller is $123,000.
FAA Spokesman Ian Gregor chided both the GUARDIAN and IDAHO STATESMAN in on-line comments saying had the news sites checked with the FAA they would have learned both controllers were drug tested and passed the tests. However, when the GUARDIAN asked for the time and date of the tests, Gregor refused comment, claiming the investigation was still in progress. (see his comments below)
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