Weird News

Bear escapes from cargo hold at Dubai International Airport

Deputy Editor James Muir presents some unlikely stories from the world of aviation.

Picture credit: Helena GARCIA@adobe.stock

Transporting animals is a regular occurrence in aviation, which is fine until the animal decides to make a bid for freedom. A bear proved this point when it escaped from its cage in the hold of an Iraqi Airways flight at Dubai International Airport. A video circulating online shows the cargo hold door partly open with the bear out of its cage and handlers stroking the animal. Specialists in the UAE sedated the bear and removed it from the flight.

In a statement, Iraqi Airways said the bear was flying from Baghdad to Dubai adding it complied with all laws, standards and procedures. There are suggestions it was flying the other direction with reports that the flight was an hour late for its trip to Baghdad and passengers were asked to disembark until the matter was resolved. An official is reported to have confirmed that the bear was going to Baghdad where predatory animals are popular pets among wealthy residents.

The Prime Minister of Iraq has ordered an investigation to find out how the bear escaped from its crate. The story caused amusement on social media with one X user asking if it was a Chinese sun bear, in reference to the resident at Hangzhou zoo, which people are suggesting is a person in a costume. Experts refute that Hangzhou’s social media star is a human in a costume, saying sun bears stand up like humans and they have loose skin on their back to help wriggle away from predators and not because it is a human dressed up as a bear.

Sickening service
Air Canada have been accused on social media of kicking two passengers off a flight for raising concerns about sitting in seats with vomit on them. According to the account on social media, the passengers were on a flight from Las Vegas to Montreal and struggling to get seated. Someone on the previous flight had been sick and Air Canada had only done a quick clean up including placing coffee in the seat pouch and spraying perfume to mask the smell.

The flight attendant apologised but said the flight was full and nothing could be done, even when it was pointed out that the seat and seatbelt were wet and there was visible residue in their area. After some back and forth, the supervisor repeated the flight attendant saying nothing could be done before the passengers requested blankets to sit on and wipes to give the area more of a clean.

After getting settled, the pilot is said to have come to speak to the women giving them two choices, leave on their own accord and organise flights at their own expense or be escorted off by security and placed on a no fly list because they had been rude to the flight attendants. The poster said the next thing anyone knew, security escorted the two women off the flight. She said the passengers were never rude, they were firm about not wanting to sit in someone else’s vomit for five hours and commented she hopes they can find a good lawyer “and sue the pants off Air Canada”.

The Independent contacted Air Canada, which responded saying: “We are reviewing this serious matter internally and have followed up with the customers directly as our operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance.”

Toxic flight
Delta Air Lines had a similarly disgusting incident but dealt with it better. On a flight from Atlanta to Barcelona, a passenger suffered severe diarrhoea and the pilots decided they had no choice but to turn around, sending Air Traffic Control the text “Divert to ATL – passenger diarrhea all over aircraft – biohazard”.

Passengers provided more information on social media, with one saying the vanilla scented disinfected did little to help, making the cabin smell of vanilla faeces. The flight was met by emergency vehicles who carried the sick passenger off the aircraft. The Airbus A350 required a thorough clean and commenters said it was cleaner than when they first boarded the flight. According to one poster, the ground crew ripped out the old carpet and had new ones fitted.

The flight headed off the Atlanta five hours after returning, landing in Barcelona eight hours behind schedule.

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