Plane Forced To Divert Back To JFK Airport After Horse Onboard Escapes

A man loads a horse in a box to travel on a cargo plane from Airfrance Cargo at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, near Paris, on October 29, 2019. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
12:30 PM – Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A flight was forced to divert back to its original location after a horse escaped from its stall in the cargo hold.


On Thursday, a 747 cargo plane flying to Belgium from New York was forced to divert back to the John F. Kennedy International Airport due to a horse onboard that escaped from its stall.

According to an audio clip that was retrieved by “You Can See ATC” via Live ATC, the horse escaped and went loose within 30 minutes of takeoff.

The Boeing747 was nearly at 31,000 feet above ground when a pilot notified air traffic control that a horse had escaped and the plane needed to divert back to JFK, according to FlightRadar24.

“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,” a pilot is heard saying in the air traffic control audio.

The plane had to make a U-turn near the coast of Boston and was forced to discard about 20 tons of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean, “10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard,” because of the flight’s weight.

Due to the fuel dump, the pilot asked a veterinarian to show up at the JFK airport when the plane arrived, describing the horse as being “in difficulty,” although it is not known what exactly happened to the horse or if the animal was injured.

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

Once the cargo plane landed, ATC asked if the flight required assistance, with a response from the pilot saying, “On the ground, negative. On the ramp, yes, we have a horse in problem.”

It also remains unknown how the horse was able to escape from its stall, but it remained loose until the plane landed at JFK, according to the audio.

Eventually, the flight was able to take off again shortly after the incident and arrive at Liege Airport on Friday morning, according to FlightRadar24.

In order to facilitate their easy loading onto freighter aircraft, live horses are frequently transported in specialized horse boxes. It remains a mystery how this horse was able to get out of its box last Thursday, since these horse stalls are supposed to be safely locked to prevent harm or an escape.

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