A Canadian airline crew detained in Dominican Republic since April after cocaine was found onboard has been released.
The five-person crew of a Pivot Airlines flight from Calgary to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic had found the strange bag aboard the aircraft and reported it to authorities.
After they shared their concerns with local authorities, the crew was detained — and have remained in the country ever since.
More bags were subsequently discovered, and local police say they eventually found more than 200 kilograms of the illegal drug aboard the jet.
Crew members including two pilots, two flight attendants and a mechanic have been forbidden from leaving the country ever since.
“Earlier today, paperwork was filed to free the five Pivot crew members who have been detained in the Dominican Republic for 220 days after reporting suspected contraband on their aircraft,” read a statement from Pivot Airlines CEO Eric Edmondson, sent to Global News on Friday.
“We are deeply relieved that these five Canadian will soon return home to their families and loved ones.”
Edmonson said he is “grateful” for the crew’s “courage, resilience, and honesty” throughout the “devastating” ordeal.
“When they return home to Canada, they will be returning as heroes,” he added.
“We are urging the Dominican Republic authorities to begin the process of releasing the crew without delay. Due to this uncertainty, and the very real potential for unforeseen delays, we do not yet have a timeline for the crew’s return.”
Pivot Airlines operates from Toronto Pearson International Airport. In mid-June, the crew released a video appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his help.
In the video, a pilot with the crew who identified himself as “Rob” said they discovered “suspected contraband” on their aircraft, which was destined for Canada.
Despite reporting their concerns “immediately” to both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Dominican authorities, the pilot said they were punished.