Air Canada pi­lot di­verts in­ter­na­tional flight to save dog

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By City News Staff and Shauna Hunt

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 its first flight when the pi­lot no­ticed the prob­lem just as the plane was about to head over the At­lantic Ocean, where tem­per­a­tures plum­met. 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),” he said.

“The cap­tain is re­spon­si­ble for all lives on board, whether it’s hu­man or ca­nine.”

Simba the French bull­dog is lucky to be alive.

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