An unexpected incident unfolded as chaos ensued on an Iraqi Airways flight departing from Dubai International Airport. A bear managed to escape from its crate within the cargo hold just before takeoff.
The bear was sedated but regained consciousness and caused chaos in the cargo hold, knocking over crates and boxes.
Ground staff were called to sedate the bear and remove it from the plane.
The episode led to a considerable flight delay of multiple hours, although the flight eventually managed to depart. The bear was subsequently relocated to a nearby animal shelter.
Iraqi Airways apologized for the incident and said that it was investigating how the bear had escaped from its crate.
The incident sparked outrage among animal rights activists, who criticized the airline for transporting a bear in the cargo hold. They argued that it was cruel and inhumane to keep a wild animal in such close confinement.
The incident also raised questions about the regulations governing the transport of wild animals by air. In Iraq, it is legal to keep bears as pets, but there are no specific regulations governing their transport by air.
Prompted by the incident, the Iraqi government initiated an inquiry. The findings of the investigation have not yet been disclosed. Meanwhile, the bear is under the care of a local animal shelter, with its long-term fate remaining uncertain.