In an unexpected turn of events, a Boeing 747 cargo jet traveling from New York to Belgium was forced to make a U-turn approximately 90 minutes into its flight. The cause of this unusual mid-air maneuver? A horse that had managed to escape from its crate, creating chaos at 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) above ground.
The pilot of Air Atlanta Icelandic flight 4592 informed air traffic control about the live animal on board, stating, “We have a live animal, a horse, on board the airplane. The horse managed to escape. We cannot get the horse back secured.” This prompted the pilot to request the presence of a veterinarian upon the aircraft’s return to John F Kennedy International Airport.
During the return journey, the pilot faced the necessity to dump 20 tonnes of fuel east of Nantucket, a region near Massachusetts known for its affluent residents. The weight reduction was required due to the unexpected presence of the unrestrained horse on board.
Upon landing back at the airport, it became evident that the horse had successfully Houdini-ed its way out of its crate. The pilot informed air traffic control, “On the ground, negative. On the ramp, yes. We have a horse in problem, in difficulty.”
The incident, which occurred last Thursday, led to speculation about the reasons behind transporting the horse. While the purpose remained unclear, experts suggested that the transportation of racehorses is a common practice, with various container size options available, analogous to first class, business class, and economy.
This peculiar occurrence is not the first time an animal has escaped its cargo stall during a flight. In August, a bear managed to free itself from its crate on an Iraqi Airways flight from Dubai to Baghdad. The unpredictability of live animal transport, as demonstrated by these incidents, adds a unique layer of challenges for cargo flights that extend beyond human passengers. Air Atlanta Icelandic has yet to respond to inquiries regarding the incident, leaving lingering questions about the circumstances surrounding the horse’s escapade.