The dog’s owner was more than grateful. “It’s my dog, it’s like my child. It’s everything to me.”
An Air Canada pilot is being credited with saving a dog’s life by diverting a flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto after a heating system malfunction in the plane’s cargo area.
The seven-year-old French bulldog named Simba was taking his first flight when the pilot noticed the problem just as the plane was about to head over the Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures plummet.
Air Canada rules state that minimum ambient temperatures need to be at a minimum of 10 degrees when dealing with canine travellers.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says the pilot recognized that the cargo hold would soon be far colder than that as the plane flew over the Atlantic Ocean and realized that the dog might not survive.
With the dog’s well-being in peril the pilot decided to land the plane in Frankfurt, Germany. Simba was placed on another flight and the plane continued on to Toronto.
The dog’s owner was more than grateful. “It’s my dog, it’s like my child. It’s everything to me,” he said after they were reunited at Pearson Airport.
Aviation expert Phyl Durby said the pilot made the right call, despite tacking on about $10,000 in fuel costs and delaying the flight by 75 minutes.
“If you look at the outside temperature, if it’s minus 50 or 60, there is some insulation but it will probably still get down to below freezing (in the cargo area),” Durby said.
“The captain is responsible for all lives on board, whether it’s human or canine.”