A recent incident compelled a Boeing 777 flying from New York to Belgium to divert back to its origin airport when a horse broke loose in the cargo hold. The episode unfolded within the first 30 minutes of takeoff, with the aircraft already at 31,000 feet.
The pilot urgently contacted air traffic control, informing them of the escaped horse and the need to return to JFK, as reported by ABC News and documented in an audio clip obtained by You Can See ATC.
“We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board. The horse managed to escape 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 told the ATC, according to the ABC News report.
FlightRadar24 further relayed that, after jettisoning fuel, the pilot requested the presence of a veterinarian at JFK for the impending landing. A reconstruction of the events was shared by You Can See ATC on its YouTube channel, shedding light on the incident.
Notably, the means by which the horse managed to break free remains unclear, and it roamed unrestrained until the plane safely landed back at JFK, according to the audio.
Following the incident, the flight, identified as CC4592, resumed its journey after a few hours, ultimately landing successfully in Liege approximately six hours later.
Air Atlanta Icelandic, the airline operating the flight, has yet to issue an official statement regarding this unexpected and unconventional turn of events.