Horse Breaks Loose On Plane, Forces Fuel Dump/Landing

An Air Atlanta Icelandic flight that departed John F. Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 9., heading to Belgium had to dump 20 tons of fuel off the coast of Massachusetts and turn around for landing. The cause? A horse had escaped its secure enclosure on the aircraft. The plane was south of Martha’s Vineyard when the pilot informed air traffic controllers in Boston about the situation.

Audio from, a site that tracks air traffic communications says, “We are a cargo plane. We have [a] live animal, a horse, on board the airplane. And the horse managed to escape the stall. We don’t have a problem as of flying-wise but we need to return back to New York. We cannot get the horse back secured.” 

The pilot was cleared to turn towards New York and the aircraft then contacted air traffic controllers in Boston again to say that about 20 tons of fuel had to be dumped. The fuel dumping is required since otherwise the aircraft would land overweight. It began about 10 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, the recordings indicate. The plane offloaded the fuel for about 20 minutes, as it passed south of Cape Cod. 

During that time, the pilot contacted air traffic controllers to request that a veterinarian for the horse be called to JFK. 

The plane landed back in the city just after 4 p.m.