A horse broke loose in a cargo plane, forcing the pilots to dump fuel and return to JFK

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A horse broke loose in a cargo plane, forcing the pilots to dump fuel and return to JFK
The horse was being transported on a Boeing 747 cargo plane.Jan Woitas/Getty Images
  • A horse managed to escape its stall shortly after a cargo plane took off from JFK on November 9.
  • One of the pilots told air traffic controllers the horse could not be secured and asked to return.
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A cargo plane had to return to JFK after a horse broke loose and the crew couldn't get it back in its stall.

Air Atlanta Icelandic flight 4592 took off at 2.30 p.m on November 9 on its way to Liege, Belgium.

The Boeing 747 climbed to about 31,000 feet when a pilot called air traffic control to say that a horse had escaped from its stall and that they needed to return to JFK.

"We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board the airplane. And the horse managed to escape his stall," says a pilot in audio posted on YouTube by You can see ATC.

"We don't have a problem as of flying wise but we need to return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured," he warned.

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Cleared to return to New York, the jet did a U-turn off the eastern coast of Canada, tracking data from Flight Radar 24 shows.

The crew had to first dump fuel over the Atlantic to be able to land safely.

"Due to our weight we need to dump 20 tonnes of fuel," one of the pilots told air traffic control.

It's unclear how the horse managed to escape, but it remained unrestrained until the plane landed at JFK. The crew had requested a vet be on standby as the animal was "in difficulty," per the audio recording.

A horse broke loose in a cargo plane, forcing the pilots to dump fuel and return to JFK
The flight path of Atlanta Airlines Icelandic flight.Flight Radar24/Business Insider

The aircraft successfully reached Belgium the following day.

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Air Atlanta Icelandic did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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