Plane Forced To Return To New York After Horse On Board Escapes From Crate

The plane had ascended to around 31,000 feet when it had to turn around because the crew couldn't wrangle the animal.
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A cargo plane on its way to Belgium abruptly had to turn back around to New York City after a horse got loose from its crate on board.

The Boeing 747 operated by charter airline Air Atlanta Icelandic was in the air for less than 30 minutes on Thursday when it was forced to return to JFK Airport, according to local news station WABC-TV.

The plane had flown up to around 31,000 feet when the crew contacted air traffic control to report that the horse had escaped from its stall and couldn’t be contained.

“We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board,” the pilot said, according to air traffic control audio. “The horse has broken out of its stall. There’s no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can’t re-secure the horse.”

The pilot, who was headed to Liege Airport, went on to request a vet for the animal upon the plane’s return to JFK because “we have a horse in difficulty.”

The unidentified pilot didn’t specify whether the animal had sustained any injuries during the wild incident.

The crew also had to dump 20 tons of fuel “10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard,” on its way back to the airport, due to the plane’s weight.

Reps for Air Atlanta Icelandic didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost for comment.

It’s unclear how the horse was able to break loose from its cage. It remained unrestrained until the plane landed at JFK, according to the audio.

A similar incident happened in August when a bear on an Iraqi aircraft managed to escape from a crate in the cargo hold, leaving passengers fuming over the flight delay.

An Iraqi Airways official told The Associated Press that the furry animal was being transported to the Iraqi capital during the time. The bear was eventually sedated and taken off the plane by specialists, the airline said.

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