Cat escapes on plane, delays Halifax flight for 4 hours
Published Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:54PM EST
Samuel L. Jackson just might have the gripping, true life story he needs to get a "Snakes on a Plane" sequel off the ground.
An Air Canada flight from Halifax to Toronto was delayed for four hours Wednesday after a cat named Ripples escaped from a carry-on crate and ended up hiding in a small opening underneath the cockpit.
"One of the passengers had carried a cat on board in a carrier . . . into the cabin of the aircraft," Halifax Stanfield International Airport spokesperson Peter Spurway told CTV Atlantic. "Somehow the cat got loose and it wound up loose in the cabin…and wouldn't you know it, the cat finds its way into the cockpit."
CTV Toronto will air exclusive video of Ripples at 6 p.m. ET tonight.
Ripples' owner, Debbie Harris, was sheepish.
"This is his first trip and his last! He's not flying anymore," she told CTV Toronto at Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
One passenger quipped to CTV: "I don't want to embarrass you lady, but that was messed."
Spurway said the cockpit door is sometimes left open when passengers are boarding the plane and Ripples managed to lodge himself inside a panel in the cockpit.
Harris said some passengers tried to unsuccessfully catch the cat on his way to the cockpit.
Passengers were forced to leave the plane while maintenance workers struggled to secure the terrified cat. The delay cost Air Canada thousands in lost wages and having to rebook some customers.
"They had to bring in their maintenance people to remove panels and disassemble pieces of the cockpit to get down to the cat, which was traumatized I'm sure," Spurway said.
The flight, which was supposed to take off from Halifax at 5:40 a.m. local time, didn't end up getting off the ground until about 10 a.m.
"It's very unusual," Spurway said of the incident. "I've never heard of such a thing. I'm sure it's happened elsewhere, but I think here in Halifax, it's a first for us."
Ripples, a 10-year old Tabby cat, was not injured in the incident.