Iraq’s Prime Minister has ordered an official investigation after a bear escaped its cage in the cargo hold on an Iraqi Airlines flight.
The country’s airline denied any blame for the bear getting loose – though it later apologized for the incident – on the August 4 service from Baghdad to Dubai.
The animal was discovered as ground staff at Dubai International airport prepared to unload the plane’s cargo. A video circulating on social media showed the confused animal walking around the cargo hold as staff tried to soothe it.
Authorities in Dubai dispatched experts to deal with the situation, and the bear was sedated and removed from the Boeing 737-800. The situation caused chaos for staff and passengers alike, as the return flight, IA124, was delayed by four hours, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The Associated Press reports that Iraqi Airlines said that “procedures to transport the bear were carried out in accordance with the law and with procedures and standards approved by the International Air Transport Association”.
The airline subsequently issued an apology, with a statement on its website reading: “The company apologises to the passengers of the flight from Baghdad International Airport to Dubai Airport for reasons beyond the control of the company”.
However, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shayya’ Sabbar al Sudani has ordered an investigation to ascertain exactly what happened.
Another video on social media shows the plane’s captain apologizing to passengers for Friday’s takeoff delay because of the bear’s escape from its crate in the cargo hold.
It is unclear who the bear’s owner is or why it was being transported. Keeping bears as pets has become popular among wealthy individuals in Iraq, and the authorities have encountered difficulties in enforcing the legal provisions to protect these animals.
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🐻 OSO EN EL AVIÓN ✈️— Nivel de Vuelo ✈︎ (@NivelDVuelo) August 6, 2023
▫️No, no es el título de una nueva película de serie B 🎥
▫️Sucedió el viernes en un vuelo de Iraqi Airways entre Bagdad🇮🇶 y Dubai🇦🇪
▫️El oso se escapó de su jaula y andaba suelto por la bodega del 737