An angry cat caused a major stir on board a passenger plane when it snuck into the cockpit, attacked the pilot and forced an emergency landing. The incident happened on a Sudanese flight that was headed toward Qatar.
According to local Sudanese newspaper Al-Sudani, the bizarre cat attack happened on February 24 about 30 minutes into the flight. The pilot safely returned the plane to the airport. The newspaper didn’t mention what happened to the cat after the plane landed back on the ground.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Stray Cat May Have Boarded the Plane While the Aircraft Was Parked in the Hangar
The cat that caused the in-flight chaos did not belong to any of the passengers or crew members. The stray animal was likely just curious about exploring the plane, and then perhaps got stuck or fell asleep on the aircraft.
According to a translated version of the Al-Sudani article, the plane was parked in an airport hangar before the flight. The outlet reported that it’s possible the cat could have snuck on board the plane while workers at the the Khartoum International Airport were either cleaning or doing a routine engineering inspection. Khartoum is the capital city of Sudan, which is located south of Egypt in Africa.
It doesn’t appear anyone on board noticed the stowaway cat before the plane took off. The aircraft was about 30 minutes into the flight to Doha, the capital city of Qatar, when the cat made its way into the cockpit.
Crew Members Failed to Restrain the Cat as it Attacked the Pilot
Anyone who has ever traveled with a cat or dog knows it can be a challenge to calm a pet that isn’t used to flying, especially if the animal is not a trained service animal. It’s easy to imagine the stowaway cat was likely not thrilled about the situation it found itself in once the plane was in the air.
The animal somehow made its way inside the cockpit and according to reports, it went berserk. The Irish Post and the Daily Mail, citing local news sources, reported that crew members tried and failed to restrain the angry cat as it tried to attack the pilot.
The pilot made the decision to turn the plane around and head back to Khartoum International Airport, Al-Sudani reported. It’s unclear whether the cat remained in the cockpit during the entirety of the return trip or whether crew members shooed the animal into the cabin.
This Isn’t the First Time a Cat Has Interrupted a Passenger Flight
Cats have interrupted and delayed passenger flights before. In January 2012, a pet cat named Ripples escaped from its carrier after its owner boarded an Air Canada flight.
According to the CBC, the cat ran toward the cockpit and then somehow got into the avionics bay. The cat was eventually retrieved and returned to its carrier, but the flight was delayed for several hours because engineers needed to ensure the animal had not damaged the plane’s wiring.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the Auckland Airport once had an issue with a pet cat that hid in the airport for about two months. The newspaper reported that the cat escaped before it could be put on an international flight. Airport officials searched for the animal for weeks before finally capturing it.