London: Two British pilots involved in bombing missions in Libya have been sent home from their forward base in Italy in disgrace after getting drunk, the defence ministry and media reports said.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots were stationed at Gioia del Colle, where Britain has 10 Typhoon jets and 12 Tornado ground attack aircraft involved in military action against Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi's forces.
"Two RAF personnel have been returned from detachment in Gioia del Colle following inappropriate behaviour; this has not affected the RAF’s ability to sustain its current commitments," a Ministry of Defence statement said on Wednesday.
"Individuals who are found to have fallen below the high standards of conduct demanded by the RAF can face appropriate internal action."
The Sun newspaper reported that the pilots, believed to be flight lieutenants, had been partying at a hotel in Italy where the British crews are based, had got drunk and were ruled "unfit" to fly their Typhoon jets.
According to the BBC, they were sent back to the RAF Coningsby base in Lincolnshire, after a night of drinking at the end of March -- just days after the crews were deployed to Gioia del Colle on March 20.
Their actions resulted in a temporary alcohol ban for other RAF personnel serving in the Mediterranean, the broadcaster said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Gioia del Colle on April 4, where he praised the "incredible job" the crews were doing in protecting civilians in Libya from Gaddafi's forces.
First Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 14:13