Escaped Horse Forces Plane to Turn Around


Airlines are no stranger to unruly passengers on board, but it’s not every day they have to deal with animals, let alone a horse. But when a plane headed to Belgium from New York City had an equestrian-related issue on board, crew members quickly sprang into action. 

According to audio from the plane, a horse on board an Air Atlanta Icelandic cargo flight escaped from its secure hold on the aircraft less than 30 minutes after takeoff from New York‘s John F. Kennedy International Airport. “We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board,” the pilot told air traffic control. “The horse managed to escape its stall. We don’t have a problem flying-wise, but we need to return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured.” 

That wasn’t the only problem the pilot had to talk to air traffic control about. He had to dump 20 tons of fuel into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard because of the aircraft’s weight. He also requested a vet to come and examine the horse when they arrived at JFK. 

It’s the latest instance of an escaped animal on board causing a headache for airline crews in the air and on the ground. Back in August, a bear traveling in the cargo hold of a plane in Dubai caused a takeoff delay after it escaped and crew members struggled to contain it and keep it from wreaking havoc on the tarmac. 

With incidents like these, there’s surely a “horse and bear walk into an airport bar” joke to be made. 

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