The quick thinking of one Air Canada pilot has been credited with saving a dog’s life when he diverted a flight after noticing a heating system malfunction was causing the animal distress.
The seven-year-old French bulldog Simba was taking his first flight, from Tel Aviv to Toronto, when the pilot spotted the problem, just as the plane was about to head over the Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures plummet.
Realising that the dog – who was in a crate in the cargo hold – could be in trouble, the pilot made the decision to instead land the plane in Frankfurt, Germany.
Simba was then placed on another flight and the plane continued on to Toronto without him, a decision for which the pup’s owner was incredibly grateful for when they were reunited at Pearson Airport, saying Simba is ‘everything to me’.
On Sunday, en route from Istanbul to Toronto, a pilot noticed one of the cargo hold heaters had malfunctioned—and the temperature was quickly dropping. He made the critical decision to divert the plane to save the dog onboard, a 7-year-old French bulldog named Simba.
Air Canada representative Peter Fitzpatrick told Travel + Leisure, “[our] pilots are professionals, who are responsible for the entire flight.” Canines included, of course.
“As soon as the crew became aware of the temperature issue,” said Fitzpatrick, “the Captain grew rightfully concerned for the dog’s comfort and wellbeing."
Phyl Durby, an aviation expert, told City News the 75-minute delay and estimated $10,000 in fuel was the cost of saving the dog’s life.
“[Without heat,] it will probably get down to below freezing [in the cargo area],” Durby said.
Upon landing in Frankfurt, Simba was transferred to another plane and later reunited with its very grateful owner.