Air Canada Pilot Diverts Flight To Save Dog

CityNews video screenshot

A pilot's quick actions saved a dog from freezing in the cargo area aboard an Air Canada flight after the heating system malfunctioned.

"As soon as the crew became aware of the temperature issue, the captain grew rightfully concerned for the dog's comfort and well-being," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CNN.

The aircraft, traveling from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Toronto, Canada, was about to cross the Atlantic Ocean, when the pilot diverted the flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

Although the plane is insulated, aviation expert Phyl Burton says that temperatures could have reached below freezing in the cargo area as the flight passed over the Atlantic, where temperatures plummet at high altitude.

"With the altitude it can become very uncomfortable, and possibly the situation could have been life-threatening if the flight had continued," Fitzpatrick said.

Although passengers were delayed about 75 minutes, the seven-year-old French Bulldog, Simba, was safe. Simba was placed on another flight to Toronto.

Burton says the pilot made the right decision, although the diversion could cost the airline many thousands of dollars in fuel. "The captain is responsible for all lives on board, whether it be human life or even canine life…"

The dog owner, who was traveling to Toronto to study, said it was Simba's first flight. He was grateful to the captain and said that some employees played with Simba at Frankfurt Airport.

"It's my dog, it's like my child. It's everything to me," the owner told CityNews.

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