International Flight Diverted by Pilot to Save Dog

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Good pilot!

Yea, Simba is safe! (City News Photo)

Yea, Simba is safe! (City News Photo)

ABC News: An international flight from Israel bound for Canada was diverted to Germany because the pilot feared that a dog that was on board might die, the airline said.
Air Canada Flight 85 from Tel Aviv began experiencing problems with a heater in the cargo hold during the flight on Sunday. The Boeing 787 had 232 people on board at the time of the incident. Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told ABC News today that while such a heater would not normally cause a problem, it was a concern on this flight because there was a live animal in the hold.
“Air Canada’s pilots are professionals who are responsible for the entire flight. As soon as the crew became aware of the temperature issue, the Captain grew rightfully concerned for the dog’s comfort and well-being,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement to ABC News.
Citing privacy concerns, Fitzpatrick would not release the name of the animal’s owner or the name of the pilot but Canadian news site City News reports that it was a 7-year-old French bulldog named Simba.
The pilot made the decision to divert to Frankfurt because it is a hub for the airline and Fitzpatrick said that since there were so many of Air Canada’s planes there, that the pilot knew he would be able to turn the flight around quickly. Fitzpatrick said the plane was in Frankfurt for about an hour, and the dog was put on a different Air Canada flight.
“While we recognize this was an inconvenience for our customers, the overall reaction was positive, particularly once people understood the dog was in potential danger but safe as a result of the diversion,” Fitzpatrick said. All told, Fitzpatrick said the customers landed in Toronto 75 minutes after their originally scheduled arrival time.
John Nance, a former commercial and Air Force pilot who now works as an aviation consultant for ABC News, said that the move is “unprecedented.” “This is very laudatory because we have some airlines that don’t care if they break guitars, kill dogs and cats,” Nance said. “I would think that Air Canada is due some public praise here, especially if they support their captain.”
Nance said that the cost of the diversion, which Air Canada declined to answer when asked about by ABC News, would be a reason against making such a diversion. “I would think that today’s airline [industry] is so profit driven, and Air Canada is no exception, and it costs a huge amount of money for a diversion of an aircraft, that this is something that a captain does not do lightly,” Nance said.

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0 responses to “International Flight Diverted by Pilot to Save Dog

  1. The perfect decision.

  2. I’m sure the customers they’ve gained since doing this will help their “bottom line” far more than a diversion would hurt it. I thank that honorable Pilot for doing the right thing.

  3. I hope the FAA doesn’t yank his license.

  4. BRAVO! The captain of the flight is responsible for ALL the lives on his flight (HUMAN AND ANIMAL)….as well as checking and “accepting” the condition of his/her airplane for safe flight….(aside—in ALL my 30 years of living on the left coast, away from family on the “right” coast… well as having kids who traveled for professional reasons or for universities in the East….I’ve ONLY seen ONE captain do a “walk around” of the plane before signing off for flight….it was at Sky-Harbor in Phoenix, and it was a WOMAN captain…I asked at the counter what was going on, seeing her walk around the plane….and they said, “she does this every time…..” ALL captians are “supposed” to do this… many have YOU seen?)
    …..I don’t want to get too technical here…but I am a child of a parent who was a life-long agricultural economist..mostly in his locale, but sometimes involving international business….and, besides the responsibility for the survival of all lives aboard, sometimes the captain of an airliner has a HUGE mercy mission/social/international business/monetary reason to ensure the survival of the tiny fur-lives on the plane: animal husbandry…(providing food and dairy goods for ALL the peoples of the earth) sometimes depends upon the survival of a goat or rabbit or whatever on the flight….whole herds of en-vitro, specially bred dairy cattle—for instance—for disease resistance or milk production or calm personality…. can be shipped this way through international borders….


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