NEW YORK. — A Boeing 747 cargo jet has been forced to turn around, after a horse escaped from its stall and caused chaos as the plane cruised at 30,000ft (9,144m).

The plane was headed to Belgium from New York but did a U-turn roughly 90 minutes after its departure when the animal got loose.

Air traffic control audio recorded the pilot saying: “We have a live animal, a horse, on board the airplane. The horse managed to escape.”

“We cannot get the horse back secured.”

The pilot flying Air Atlanta Icelandic flight 4592 told air traffic control the plane was fine but that the horse on the loose was the concern.

He then requested a veterinarian meet the aircraft once it landed back at John F Kennedy International Airport.

As the plane made its way back during the incident last Thursday, the pilot said he needed to dump 20 tonnes of fuel, “east of Nantucket”, a popular enclave for the rich near Massachusetts.

The plane had to dump the fuel due to the plane’s weight.

It remains unclear how the horse Houdini-ed its way out, but it was unrestrained when the plane landed at the airport.

“Do you require assistance?” air traffic control asked the pilot after the plane arrived.

“On the ground, negative” the pilot replied. “On the ramp, yes. We have a horse in problem, in difficulty.”

The flight took off later in the same day and successfully arrived at Liege Airport on Friday morning, according to FlightRadar24.

Air Atlanta Icelandic did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

Why the horse was being transported also remains unknown.

One of the more common reasons is the transportation of race horses, according to experts.

“You have a first class, a business class, and the economy,” one source told CNN, referring to the different size container options available for the animals.

This latest incident was not the first time an animal escaped its cargo stall while onboard an airplane.

In August, a bear freed itself from its crate on an Iraqi Airways flight headed from Dubai to Baghdad, the Associated Press reported. — BBC.

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