Belgium-bound horse makes mid-air escape

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) - A Belgium-bound cargo plane was forced to return to New York after a horse bolted from its holding pen in mid-air, US media reported.

The horse got loose within half an hour of the flight's take-off last Thursday evening when the plane was about 31,000 feet, according to ABC News, which cited an air traffic control recording.

The pilot of the Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747 asked for permission to hoof it back to John F Kennedy International Airport after crew members were unable to wrangle the horse into its stall.

"There's no issue with flying, but we need to go back to New York as we can't re-secure the horse," the pilot was heard saying.

Saddled with thousands of pounds of fuel for the transatlantic flight, the plane was forced to dump about 20 tons over the Atlantic before it could safely land back in New York.

The flight resumed its journey shortly after the incident and landed in Liege, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

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