Iraqi Airways apologizes after escaped bear delays flight

بەلاڤ بکە

Iraqi Airways on Friday issued an apology after a bear escaped from a crate in the cargo hold, causing a delay for a flight from Dubai to Baghdad.

A video filmed by a passenger on the flight circulated on social media on Friday. In the clip, a male passenger can be heard saying that their flight was delayed for over an hour and they had been informed that the cause was a bear in the cargo.

“The administration of the company apologizes to the dear travelers of the flight from Baghdad International Airport to Dubai Airport... for reasons beyond the control of the company, regarding a shipment in the cargo hold (a bear),” read a statement from Iraqi Airways published on Facebook.

“Upon arriving at Dubai Airport, it was revealed that the animal escaped the crate specified for its shipment,” continued the statement, adding that the plane crew coordinated with United Arab Emirate (UAE) authorities to sedate the bear and take it off the plane. This delayed the return flight.

The airlines said the bear was being transported in accordance with the international convention governing the trade of endangered species (CITES) and the International Air Transportation Agency (IATA). 

The origins of the bear or where it was being taken were not publicized. 

Iraqi Airways has a poor reputation and has been stained by scandals in the past. In 2020 the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) suspended a pilot after he allowed a female model to enter the cockpit mid-flight. In July 2018, two Iraqi pilots got into a physical fight over dinner while flying a Boeing 737 with 160 passengers on board.