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Liège-bound aircraft forced to return to New York after horse escapes stall

12:27 15/11/2023

A cargo plane heading to Liège Airport turned around and headed back to New York’s JFK airport when it was unable to secure a horse escaped from its stall, reports

Pilots on board the Air Atlanta Icelandic 747-400 freight aircraft made the turn-around request to air traffic control (ATC) 30 minutes into the flight. The plane was flying at an altitude of 9,500m.

According to live audio (You Can See ATC), pilots were heard requesting the return to JFK on 9 November. They told ATC that they were forced to turn around because a horse had escaped from its box.

“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 resecure the horse,” they said.

The aircraft was forced to dump about 20 tonnes of fuel to lighten its load before landing: a 20-minute operation.

Pilots also requested for a veterinarian to meet the 747 on its arrival.

Three hours later than originally scheduled, the flight departed for its destination of Liege.

The Walloon airport, specialised in freight, offers special equestrian facilities, including a horse inn.

Photo: ©Air Atlanta Icelandic


Written by Sarah Crew