[Fox Business] Cargo pilot unable to rein in escaped horse on plane, forcing return flight to JFK airport

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A Boeing 747 cargo plane headed to Belgium was forced to dump 20 tons of fuel into the Atlantic Ocean and return to John F. Kennedy International Airport, after a horse onboard broke free of its stall Thursday, according to air traffic control audio. 

The Air Atlanta Icelandic charter aircraft had just reached 31,000 feet about 30 minutes from takeoff when its pilot radioed air traffic control, according to FlightRadar24. 

“We are a cargo plane with a live animal, a horse, on board,” the pilot can be heard saying in the recording. “The horse managed to escape its stall.” 

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“There is no issue with flying,” the pilot continued. “But we need to go back to New York as we can’t re-secure the horse.”

The plane made a U-turn off the coast of Boston to dump about 20 tons of fuel over the Atlantic, “10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard,” to reduce the flight’s weight for an early landing, the pilot told air traffic control. 

As the fuel was dumped, the pilot asked that a veterinarian be available when the plane landed. 

“I do believe we need a vet — veterinarian, I guess you call it, for the horse upon landing,” the pilot told the air traffic controller. “Is that something you can speak to New York about?”

Once the plane had landed, air traffic control asked the pilot whether he needed assistance. “On the ground, negative,” the pilot replied, per the audio reviewed by Fox News Digital. “On the ramp, yes, we have a horse in problem.”

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A short while later, around 6:35 p.m., the horse was successfully strapped in. On Friday morning, the cargo flight landed at Belgium’s Liege Airport, per FlightRadar24. 

Air Atlanta Icelandic did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the incident. 

Horses are loaded directly into traveling stalls on the tarmac when transported by plane, according to the American Journal of Transportation. 

These stalls are lifted on pallets to the level of the plane, then slid into an open doorway and locked into a pallet system on the floor of the plane. 

John F. Kennedy airport has a $65 million dollar terminal, called “The Ark,” specifically outfitted for transporting horses and other animals, FOX 5 New York reported. 

The airline has 48 specialized in-flight horse stalls, a 24-hour reception center, and a specialty horse quarantine facility. 

Horse owners can reportedly expect to pay within four figures per stall to transport horses on transatlantic flights, the outlet reported. 

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