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Cat escapes on plane, delays Halifax flight for 4 hours
Travelers and crew members on an Air Canada plane got some in-flight entertainment after a cat got loose on board the plane in Halifax Wednesday morning.
Ripples, a 10-year-old tabby cat, was traveling with his owner Debbie Harris on the flight from Halifax to Toronto when he escaped from his carry-on crate, which hadn't been fastened properly after a security check.
Ripples then took off into the plane's cabin and hid in a small opening beneath the cockpit.
"One of the passengers had carried a cat on board in a carrier…into the cabin of the aircraft," airport spokesman Peter Spurway confirmed to CTV News. "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."
Spurway says the cockpit door is often open while passengers board the plane and that Ripples managed to lodge himself inside of a panel in the cockpit.
"Some people tried to catch him up in first class," said Harris. "Then he took off into the cockpit and nestled down."
Passengers had to leave the plane while maintenance crews came in to retrieve Ripples.
"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," says Spurway.
Maintenance crews completed a thorough safety check of the plane before it took off.
The cat managed to delay the flight for more than four hours before he was placed in the luggage compartment for the duration of the flight to Toronto.
Spurway says the flight, which was due to leave Halifax at 5:40 a.m., left for Toronto around 10 a.m.
"It's very unusual," he says 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."
Spurway says the episode didn't affect operations at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, but it was a pricey disruption. The delay cost the airport thousands of dollars in wages and re-booking of passengers.
Ripples was not injured in the incident, but Harris says he won't be boarding anymore planes.
"This is his first trip and his last! He's not flying anymore."