Iraq’s Prime Minister has ordered an official investigation after a bear escaped its cage in the cargo hold on an Iraqi Airlines flight. The incident occurred on the 4th of August during a flight from Baghdad to Dubai. Although the country’s airline initially denied any blame for the bear getting loose, they later apologized for the incident.
The bear was discovered by ground staff at Dubai International Airport as they prepared to unload the plane’s cargo. A video circulating on social media showed the confused animal walking around the cargo hold as staff tried to soothe it. Authorities in Dubai dispatched experts to deal with the situation. The bear was eventually sedated and removed from the Boeing 737-800. However, this caused chaos for both staff and passengers, as the return flight was delayed by four hours.
Iraqi Airlines stated that the procedures to transport the bear were carried out in accordance with the law and with procedures and standards approved by the International Air Transport Association. Nevertheless, the airline issued an apology on its website, stating that the incident was beyond their control.
In response to the incident, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shayya’ Sabbar al Sudani has ordered an investigation to determine exactly what happened. It is still unclear who the bear’s owner is and why it was being transported. Keeping bears as pets has become popular among wealthy individuals in Iraq, and authorities have faced difficulties in enforcing legal provisions to protect these animals.
The Independent has reached out to Dubai International Airport for comment on the incident.