Sunday 22 January 2017

Airline pilot lauded for diverting trans-Atlantic flight to save dog from freezing

David Kearns

Published 17/09/2015 | 14:00

Seven-year-old French bulldog Simba and owner German Kontorovich Credit: City News
Seven-year-old French bulldog Simba and owner German Kontorovich Credit: City News

An airline pilot has been credited with saving a dog’s life after diverting a 12-hour flight because a heating malfunction threatened the life of the pet.

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Seven-year-old French bulldog Simba was in the cargo area on a flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto on Sunday when temperatures in the hold began to plummet.

With the dog’s well-being in peril, the unnamed Air Canada pilot decided to land the plane in Frankfurt.

“It’s my dog, it’s like my child. It’s everything to me,” said owner German Kontorovich.

Without the heating system, temperatures within the cargo area tend to fall below freezing.

Despite tacking on about €10,000 in fuel costs and delaying the flight by 75 minutes, Air Canada stood by its pilot’s decision.

“The captain is responsible for all lives on board, whether it’s human or canine," said a spokesperson for the airline.

“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," they added.

At Frankfurt airport, Simba and his owner were put on another flight to continued their journey to Toronto.

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