Passengers on an Iraqi Airlines flight were delayed after a bear managed to escape from the cargo hold.
The animal was somehow able to get out of its crate just as the plane was about to depart from Dubai International Airport on Friday.
It was headed to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad but the arrival time was reportedly pushed back an hour, after travellers were asked to disembark while the bear was dealt with.
The aircraft crew worked with authorities and specialists in the United Arab Emirates to sedate the animal and remove it from the plane.
Footage shows the big black bear being handled through the gap of the plane’s open cargo door.
Iraqi Airways said it wasn’t to blame for the bear’s escape, insisting that procedures were carried out in accordance with the law and standards approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Now, Iraq’s prime minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani has ordered an investigation into how a bear escaped.
Iraqi Airlines had initially said the bear was being flown from Baghdad to Dubai, but it confirmed on Sunday that it was actually the other way around.
The company has declined to say who owns the animal.
Keeping predatory animals as pets has become popular among the wealthy in Iraq, especially in Baghdad.
Authorities have struggled to enforce legal provisions to protect wild animals and Baghdad’s police have previously called on citizens to help by reporting sightings.
They are worried about dangerous animals being let loose on the city’s streets or ending up as exotic meals in restaurants.
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