Horse Escapes Plane’s Cargo Hold, Forces Emergency Landing In NYC


A horse’s daring escape from a jumbo jet’s cargo hold led to a dramatic emergency landing at New York City’s JFK airport. The incident occurred on November 9, when an Air Atlanta Icelandic 747 was en route to Belgium.

Key Takeaway

A horse’s escape from a cargo hold during a jumbo jet flight led to an emergency landing in New York City. The pilots prioritized the safety of the aircraft and its occupants, necessitating the dumping of fuel before landing. Once safely on the ground, a veterinarian was called to assist the distressed horse.

The Escape

Mid-flight, the pilots discovered that the horse had broken free from its pen and was roaming freely within the cargo hold. Realizing the potential danger, they immediately decided to divert back to JFK airport.

The pilot’s communication with air traffic control, captured on cockpit audio obtained by “You Can See The ATC,” revealed the urgency of the situation. They emphasized that they were a cargo plane transporting a live animal and that the horse had managed to break out of its stall.

The Emergency Landing

While the plane was still able to fly safely, the pilots made the decision to return to JFK as they were unable to re-secure the horse while in the air. This required them to dump 20 tons of fuel to ensure a safe landing without compromising the plane’s performance.

Once safely on the ground, the pilots sought the assistance of a veterinarian to attend to the unsettled horse. Although the exact nature of the horse’s distress was not specified, it was described as being “in difficulty.”

The Aftermath

It remains unclear whether the horse’s escape was driven by a desire for greener pastures or simply a quest for the thrill of freedom. Nevertheless, after the situation was brought under control, the flight to Belgium eventually resumed.